PH to start mass producing 10,000 protective equipment daily, gov’t task force says

Local garment factories in the Philippines will start mass-producing much-needed sets of medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) to equip health workers in the fight against COVID-19.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesman of the government’s task force against COVID-19, said today in a virtual briefing that members of the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines will start producing 10,000 PPEs a day from April 13.

“Raw materials for these will be shipped in by this week and the roll-out of production at the garment factories will immediately start after the Holy Week,” the spokesman said.

For weeks, healthcare workers have lamented the shortage of protective equipment in various hospitals in the country, with the leader of the Philippine Medical Association even saying that the lack of PPEs caused the deaths of at least 17 doctors. At least one hospital in Laguna had to resort to using garbage bags when they ran out of protective equipment.

Even the Philippine Government Hospital (PGH) complained about the lack of stable PPE suppliers, and said that they will run out of protective equipment in a few weeks. 

Nograles said that the design of the PPEs has been approved by the PGH, a hospital that exclusively treats COVID-19 patients. It will include scrub suits, shoe covers, gloves, face shields, and N95 masks.

Last week, Nograles also announced that all residents of Luzon will be required to wear face masks such as hankies and reusable cloths when they are out in public to minimize the spread of the disease.

The monthlong lockdown imposed over Luzon is expected to end on April 12. However, Nograles said that they are still studying whether to lift or extend the lockdown based on economic factors and if the Philippines is flattening the curve.

“We will make recommendations to the president, but ultimately he will decide,” Nograles said.

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