Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Govt lifts quota restriction on face mask factories

Aug 11. 2020
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By The Nation

Government restrictions on face mask manufacturers were lifted today, allowing them to resume selling all their masks to trading partners as normal. Previously, manufacturers were required to earmark a huge number of masks for sale to the state first in a move imposed to fight the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, the retail price cap of Bt2.5 on surgical masks will remain in place, said Department of Internal Trade director-general Whichai Phochanakij.

If the infection rate rises again, the manufacturers will be required to sell masks to medical facilities or people with high infection risk first, he added.

Thailand currently has 30 face-mask factories able to produce up to 4.5 million masks per week, up from nine factories and 1.2 million mask per week at the beginning of the outbreak. The country also imports a huge number of masks. About 3 million masks are needed to meet daily demand from medical staff and those at risk of infection.

Whichai added the government will stop buying masks from the factories for the time being.

Vendors who sell locally made surgical masks for more than Bt2.5 apiece face a fine of up to Bt100,000 and/or five years in jail. Vendors of foreign-made masks can add no more than 60 per cent of the import price and must be able to prove they were imported

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