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BEIJING – China has put out an urgent appeal for more nonwoven facemasks and protective suits as it battles to contain the Coronavirus.

Spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry Hua Chunying said in a press briefing on Monday (February 3rd) that the country’s factories can produce 20 million masks per day, but panic over the virus has prompted residents to stock up on them, while frontline medical personnel face shortages.

The foreign ministry said that countries including South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Hungary had donated medical supplies.

The Chinese authorities are taking steps to bring in masks from Europe, Japan and the US, with supply and demand in China in tight as factories have just returned to production after the country’s New Year celebrations.

In addition to Hubei, the province of more than 50 million people at the centre of the outbreak, several other provinces and cities across China have made it compulsory to wear masks in public as virus fears have grown, including Guangdong, Jiangxi, Liaoning and Sichuan.

Leading nonwovens manufacturer Berry Global reports that it is prioritising the production of nonwoven healthcare products in its Nanhai, China and Suzhou, China facilities,

Nonwoven materials produced at the facilities are used in face masks, N95 respirators, and protective apparel, all of which have recently been in high demand in the plan to prevent the spread of not only the Coronavirus, but also other communicable diseases.

“Our thoughts go out to those affected by the Coronavirus. Our dedicated teams are working around the clock to manufacture as much of these materials as possible to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said Curt Begle, President of Berry’s Health, Hygiene, and Specialties Division.

Berry has advised employees in the affected areas to use extra caution, including the use of Company-issued face masks, hand sanitizer and hand soaps.

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