Garment makers are training employees to make masks as demand rises amidst the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Half the workforce at a textile company in the southern province of Long An Province has been given a new task since last month.
As the Ministry of Health says Viet Nam needs 10 million masks every day, textile enterprises have rushed to fill orders.
Since early February, Vinatex and its members have cut part of their clothing production lines to produce antibacterial masks. In the last week of February, they supplied more than 5.5 million products and expect to produce 12 million more in March.
Do Dong Tuan, CEO of GarmentTech Pro, said that although the company is not a registered health equipment maker, its machines are suitable for producing masks that are in short supply nationwide because of the novel coronavirus epidemic.
The company uses about four tons of fabric a day for making masks. Eight square meter fabric pieces are cleaned, dried, flattened and then cut into small pieces.
Nguyen Thi Minh Huong, 35, is among the workers reassigned to making masks.
“It took me a few days to learn. It’s not so complicated. I have been working more shifts to meet the rising demand for masks.”
Each mask is sold for VND8,000 (35 cents) and large orders have been placed by hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets.
“Our masks are sold out. We’ll keep production running even after the outbreak is contained,” Tuan said.
Another textile company, TNG in the northern province of Thai Nguyen, has also shifted production from garments to masks, with a target of two million units.
The masks have an activated carbon layer to filter dust and have been approved by the Ministry of Health.
Its 400 workers are working overtime to meet demand. Each mask is sold for VND19,000 (82 cents).
People line up to buy masks at Dong Xuan Knitting on Minh Khai Street, Ha Noi. Photo VNPlus
Saigon Co.op supermarket chain ordered 1.5 million X28 antibacterial masks to sell at low prices. The Big C supermarket system has worked with suppliers to distribute more than one million masks for its customers across 37 supermarkets in 22 provinces in Viet Nam.
The cloth masks are also among the best selling items in convenient stores, drugstores and online trading websites./.