A worker checkes a protective suit on display at a factory in the West Bank city of Hebron, on March 15, 2020. Palestinian factories of shoes and clothes in the West Bank have turned into producing facemasks and protective suits amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Mamoun Wazwaz/Xinhua)
RAMALLAH, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian factories of shoes and clothes in the West Bank have turned into producing facemasks and protective suits amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Amjad Zughair, 30, who runs a factory of masks in the Hebron city, told Xinhua that he switched his production lines to make facemasks in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"The factory contains old machines making masks. So, I have invested them in manufacturing more facemasks due to the fears of the spread of the epidemic," Zughair said.
"It not only helps protecting the society from the threats of the spread of the disease but also contributes to overcoming the economic recession," he added.
He explained that the new production lines provided between 40 to 50 job opportunities to the unemployed people.
"In the local market, every mask is coasted at 0.5 U.S. dollar," he said, adding that factory produces about 5,000 masks per day.
Palestine so far has recorded 38 cases of the coronavirus, one case in Tulkarem and 37 others in Bethlehem.
On March 5, the Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency for one-month right after the first COVID-19 case was discovered in the district of Bethlehem.
Meanwhile, other Palestinian companies have gone to manufacture sterilization materials and personal protective equipment for the medical staff as well as the security forces.
Zeiad al-Saafeen, 51, owner of a factory that produces military uniforms and plastic materials, told Xinhua that he changed his production lines so as to protect the medical and security staff.
Al-Saafeen said his factory is already making protective suits for the Israelis, and he has increased the production capacity to provide products to the Palestinians to protect them from the coronavirus.
Ten days ago, Israel provided the raw materials to the factory, which allows the owner to produce the protective suits for the Palestinian medical staff and security forces, al-Saafeen told Xinhua.
The Palestinian Ministry of Economy has facilitated the approval procedures for the factories to open new production lines to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to Ibrahim al-Qadi, director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry.
"The registration procedures for these factories and companies were under the condition that products should be examined," al-Qadi told Xinhua, adding that "as soon as they were successful, then the product can be commenced."
The ministry encourages the Palestinian investors to open new production lines related to the protective suits and sterilization materials to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to al-Qadi.
He added that his ministry had registered three factories to produce facemasks and other 11 companies to manufacture sterilization materials.
The Palestinian government said that a series of precautionary measures have contributed to curbing the spread of the epidemic.
Earlier in March, Palestinian Minister of National Economy Khaled al-Osaily confirmed in a statement sent to Xinhua that the supply stocks in the Palestinian territories meet the residents' need to challenge the coronavirus.
He added that the Palestinian factories have increased their production capacity of preventive medical supplies such as masks, suits, and sterilization materials.