A man wearing a protective face mask walks next to a wall painted with the colors of Egypt’s flag, after the government made wearing masks mandatory in public places and public transport, in Cairo, Egypt, on May 31, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s trade and industry minister Nevine Gamea said on Sunday that over 100 textile factories will start within days manufacturing reusable cloth face masks, to produce 8 million masks per month in the initial phase with the goal of producing up to 30 million masks per month later on.
Prime minister Moustafa Madbouly stressed during a meeting on Sunday with Gamea on the need to produce the biggest amount possible of reusable cloth masks as the state has made it compulsory to wear face masks in certain places and facilities as part of measures to adapt with the coronavirus pandemic, the cabinet said in a statement.
Gamea invited all interested textile factories to meet the standard requirements and apply them, so that they can start manufacturing cloth masks as soon as possible, pointing out that there are over 12,000 small textile factories recorded by the ministry.
The minister said that a meeting was recently held with representatives of the textile and ready-made clothes sector in which they asserted their willingness to produce the state and the local market’s needs of cloth masks with a price of EGP 5 ($0.31) per mask.
She added that they agreed to start the production process during the coming days so that 8 million masks would be produced during the first stage, to rise to 10 then 15 million masks per month through over 100 factories.
According to Gamea the target is to produce 30 million cloth masks a month.
The minister said that her ministry is currently coordinating with the military production ministry to expand the production of medical masks and to open a production line for cloth masks.
With regard to the requirements issued by the Egyptian Organization For Standardization & Quality (EOS) for manufacturing cloth masks Gamea indicated that this type of mask should only be used by healthy people, and not positive coronavirus cases.
She added that cloth masks should not be used by people in contact with coronavirus cases or in areas where there is a high possibility of infection.
She also explained that there are technical requirements for the design of the cloth masks that factories should adhere to.
According to Gamea, the mask should cover the nose, mouth and chin, and it must consist of several layers with a minimum of two layers. It should also be adjustable to the size of the user to ensure that it is adequately covering the nose and chin to ensure protection from infection.
The minister added that the manufacturer should put with the masks an instructions paper that indicates the method of optimal use in terms of proper wearing,removal and washing methods.
Gamea pointed out that the ministry's supervisory bodies will carry out periodic campaigns to inspect factories that produce cloth masks, to ensure they comply with the requirements and quality standards approved by the ministry.
Starting 30 May, Egypt has made wearing facemasks in public places as well as public or private transportation mandatory until further notice upon a decree by the prime minister.
Those who do not not wear a mask will be subject to a fine of up to EGP 4,000 (approximately $246).