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Indonesia on PPE production spree despite quality issues

16
Jun '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Despite complaints over quality and distribution, Indonesia went on a personal protective equipment (PPE) production spree during the COVID-19 health crisis. The country now has a monthly capacity to produce 394.82 million surgical masks, a rise from just 150 million masks prior to the pandemic. It will see a surplus of 2 billion surgical masks by the end of the year.

Starting in April, the soaring production was a result of the changing business in the textile industry during the pandemic and government demand due to prior supply shortages, industry minister Agus Gumiwang recently said during an online discussion.

As demand dwindles, many textile industries are suffering from low factory utilisation due to the government’s large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to contain COVID-19.

As a result of the surplus, the industry ministry asked the trade ministry to revise a regulation that restricts the export of PPE so that it can begin exporting abroad. However, national demand would still be prioritized, he said.

The nationally produced PPE include high-grade ISO 16604 standard coveralls for doctors and health workers at hospitals and AATCC 42 standard coveralls for test-site attendants, according to COVID-19 task force data.

The ministry projected a deficit only for N95 masks by the end of the year, when demand for the product is expected to surpass the actual number of produced masks by 5.39 million units, according to Indonesian media reports.

Many health worker users have complained about the quality of PPE manufactured in the country. Many small hospitals and clinics also refused to use washable PPE and preferred instead to purchase disposable products as they did not have the systems in place to disinfect PPE.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)


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