MANILA, Philippines – A batch of face masks is coming to the public.
The DOST’s Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) along with its partners, the local government unit in Taytay and the private sector, are set to produce 500,000 facemasks to fill the current gap brought about by the coronavirus crisis.
The masks are designed to be washable for up to 50 times, made possible by a textile coating developed by the research institute. Local fiber textiles to be used as raw materials will be provided by Power Fashion Inc., a company behind several local clothing retailers. The outer layer of the mask is said to be water-repellent, which will protect the wearer from inhaling droplets with the pathogens. COVID-19’s primary mode of transmission is through droplets released through a cough, a sneeze or when someone talks.
The masks are one of several COVID initiatives by the DOST, as announced by Secretary Fortunato dela Peña on Tuesday, March 17:
The PTRI, however, said the masks are designed for the general public and it “does not aim to replace the masks used by our health practitioners.”
The institute is looking to start production by the end of next week, but admitted to having logistical troubles because of the current lockdown.
“We are currently hurdling the logistics given the enhanced community quarantine which restricts movement of people and materials. Hopefully, some masks will be produced by end of next week,” it said in a message to Rappler.
“No final plans yet on where the masks will be distributed but we are seriously considering its deployment to the inter-agency task force, which is in the best position to assess who needs the masks most,” it also said.– Rappler.com