Thursday, February 27, 2020

GPO to increase hand sanitizer supplies, face mask makers to hike production

Feb 07. 2020
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By THE NATION

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) has decided to increase supplies of alcohol hand gels to 700,000 bottles per day for 60 millilitre size and 900,000 bottles per day for 450ml.

The GPO on Thursday (February 6) held discussions with the Department of Internal Trade and the manufacturers of face masks to discuss solutions to the shortage of face masks and hand sanitizer gels, two crucial items needed by the public in fighting the PM2.5 pollution and the new coronavirus outbreak.

“We won’t need to increase production of the spray type sanitizers as we still have millions in stock,” Dr Withoon Danwiboon, GPO director, said. “The raw material should not be an issue either, as the Liquor Distillery Organisation has increased alcohol production capacity to 60 tonnes per day.”

Meanwhile, 12 face mask manufacturers who attended the meeting agreed to increase their production capacity by 20 per cent to cope with the increasing demand. “Both face masks and hand gels are controlled products, subjected to a one-time purchase of not more than 10 pieces per person,” added Withoon. “Hoarding controlled products is punishable with a Bt140,000 fine or seven years in prison. However, the purchase limit would be lifted when the situation returns to normal.”

For people who have lower risks of contacting infected persons, such as office employees, Withoon suggested the use of fabric masks instead of sanitary masks, which have limited repeated use. “Fabric masks can be washed and reused several times. They are made from hemp muslin and are reasonably effective for protection against dust and germs,” he said. “Currently the Central Women Corrections Institution has a production capacity of 2,000 masks per day, priced at only Bt15 each.”

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