China's mask production recovering as work resumption quickens

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China's mask production capacity is recovering steadily as producers race to resume production in full gear to ensure enough supply for control of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Workers make masks at a workshop of a medical material producing company in Jiaozuo City, central China's Henan Province, Feb. 9, 2020. Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, medical supplies manufacturing companies across China have been producing medical supplies at full capacity to power the fight against the epidemic. (Photo by Feng Xiaomin/Xinhua)

About 73 percent of the country's mask production capacity had been recovered by Feb. 7, Chen Da, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, told a press conference Sunday.

For medical masks, the rate rose to 87 percent, Chen said.

China is the world's largest mask producer, with over 20 million masks made daily in normal times.

In a move to encourage production of key medical supplies including masks, Chinese authorities have reassured producers that the government would be the ultimate buyer if the market could not consume all the products.

Imports of masks are encouraged, Chen said, adding that duties on mask donations are waived and support will be offered to firms using chartered planes to bring in import masks.

Work resumption is taking place across China except for Hubei Province, the hardest-hit region. About 94.6 percent of the country's major grain production and processing firms have resumed production, while supply of natural gas, electricity and refined oil is sufficient, Chen said.

The government will introduce targeted and coordinated measures to ensure smooth work resumption, especially in sectors of daily necessities and medical supplies, he said. 

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