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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia producing 2 million face masks daily, 25 million available

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Saudi Arabia is producing two million face masks to protect people from coronavirus every day, said the spokesperson for the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) Tayseer al-Mufarrij in the Saudi Gazette.

The Kingdom has mandated the wearing of face masks in public places to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, causing a surge in demand for the protective gear.

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In response, Saudi Arabia has upped its production of masks, producing 2 million each day from nine factories, according to al-Mufarrij, as quoted in Saudi Gazette.

There are currently 25 million face masks available in the Kingdom, said al-Mufarrij. Saudi Arabia’s current population is an estimated 33.7 million people.

Read more: Coronavirus cases, deaths in Saudi will keep rising if people ignore rules: Ministry

Women wear protective face masks, as they walk, after Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary lockdown on the province of Qatif, following the spread of coronavirus, in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, March 10, 2020. (Reuters)
Women wear protective face masks, as they walk, after Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary lockdown on the province of Qatif, following the spread of coronavirus, in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, March 10, 2020. (Reuters)

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14 million masks arrive in Jeddah

In a separate announcement, authorities confirmed that a shipment of 14 million face masks had arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Monday.

SFDA Western Sector Executive Director Musa bin Sulaiman al-Fifi said that the masks would be distributed to pharmacies and markets.

It was unclear whether the 14 million were a part of, or in addition to, the 25 million announced by al-Mufarrij.

Read more: Coronavirus: Up to three years in prison for not wearing face mask in Qatar

The increase in masks should help Saudi Arabian residents comply with ongoing coronavirus regulations. Anyone not wearing a mask can be fined up 1,000 riyals ($266).

“During this time, especially for those that need to leave the house, the nose and mouth must be covered. This can be done with a cloth mask to limit the chances of the spread of saliva to others, and vice versa,” announced the health ministry’s spokesperson Dr. Mohammed al-Abd al-Aly last month.

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Saudi Arabia produces sanitizer, PPE

Saudi Arabia also has 69 factories producing sanitizers and sterilizers used for disinfecting against coronavirus, added al-Mufarrij.

These factories have the capacity to produce over 3.4 million liters of sanitizer per week.

The Kingdom also had three factories dedicated to producing personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and overalls, used by medical staff. Together, the three factories have produced over 103 million “PPE gears,” according to al-Mufarrij.

Al-Mufarrij added that authorities have carried out 38,000 rounds of inspection to ensure people were complying with coronavirus regulations. These inspections had caught 2,721 violations.

Meanwhile, there are 69 factories for sanitizers and sterilizers, with a capacity of over 3.4 million liters per week. In addition, there are three personal protective equipment factories, producing over 103 million PPE gears.

Read more: Coronavirus: Iraqi officials visit Saudi Arabia in masks, highlighting COVID-19 norms