My battle with coronavirus: 100 days in a mask factory

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 12, 2020
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CHANGSHA, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Wu Haiwan,head of a mask factory in central China's Hunan Province, finally took some time off during the May Day holiday after about 100 days of uninterrupted work.

"It has been a battle," said the 29-year-old Wu. During the busiest time, she only slept three or four hours a day and never stepped out of the factory. Every time she woke up, she found countless unread messages on her phone inquiring about masks.

The unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 and surging demand for masks caught her off guard. Wu decided to resume production on Jan. 21, three days before the Spring Festival. Instead of having a family get-together, Wu and her fellow workers worked on eight production lines around the clock.

Although the production lines were all operating at full capacity during the festival, their supply still couldn't meet the demand.

On Jan. 26, Wu's factory was listed by the provincial government as a key enterprise for anti-virus efforts. Everything it produced was purchased by the government for macro-distribution.

"In a special time like this, we should cooperate with the government so that our masks could be sent to places where they were most needed," she said.

Soaring production led to a large gap in the supply of raw materials. Wu sent purchasers to upstream manufacturers in other provinces in east and south China.

"They ate and slept in their trucks, waiting outside the gates of manufacturers," Wu said. She herself had to make more than 100 calls a day for raw materials.

The local government lent a hand just in time to help Wu add another two production lines, train more workers, coordinate transportation and send officials to contact raw material companies.

The local power company also sent in generators and installed capacity-increasing equipment for them free of charge.

To ensure production went ahead at full capacity, Wu sent buses to pick up workers stuck in their hometowns.

"Every passing day was arduous, especially when you felt like you couldn't do it all but you didn't have a choice," she said.

No matter how hard it is, they dared not give up because they knew the safety of so many people depended on their masks.

"I think I will be proud of myself 10 years later when I look back at what I did during the epidemic," she said.

Wu's grandfather established the mask factory in 1982. She took it over in 2013 after graduating from college and became the new head of the factory.

Wu used to think that the profit of a mask was so low that it was barely worthwhile keeping the factory running. But after the coronavirus battle, she saw clearly the true value of her products.

"A mask is a shield against invisible enemies for a doctor, a nurse, and you and me. It's valuable," She said. Enditem

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