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Li orders ramped-up surgical mask output

By Xu Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-22 06:50
Premier Li Keqiang inspects mask production at a medical equipment manufacturer in Beijing on Friday. The premier ordered the company to increase production to ensure supplies amid the country's fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak. [Provided by WW.GOV.CN]

Premier: Epidemic control at crucial period, coordination should improve

Premier Li Keqiang on Friday underlined the importance of scaling up production capacity of surgical masks to meet surging demand as more businesses resume operations amid the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.

During a visit to Naton Medical Group, a producer of surgical masks in Beijing's Haidian district, Li urged stronger steps to promote cooperation and coordination between large, medium and small businesses to expand production of materials used for epidemic control and prevention.

During the visit, the premier was told the country's daily production capacity of surgical masks has surpassed 43 million, and capacity will soon reach 100 million per day with a large number of new businesses coming on board.

Li commended the company for continuing to expand its production capacity, and asked whether it is facing a labor shortage or if it requires more support to boost production. He urged officials in relevant departments to adopt quicker measures to help the company solve its difficulties in raw material procurement.

He said epidemic control and prevention is still at a crucial period, and relevant departments must continue to offer coordinated services to support businesses in bolstering production and expanding capacities.

During the visit, Li ordered government officials to accelerate efforts to help businesses resolve difficulties in raw materials.

Surgical masks are weapons for medical workers in fighting the outbreak, and are shields for public health, he said, adding that they would also provide a safe environment for businesses to resume operations.

He encouraged surgical mask producers to seize every minute to boost production, ensure the quality of their products and maintain a reasonable price level. By doing so, they are contributing to epidemic control and prevention as well as helping the country's development, Li added.

The premier called for quicker steps in innovation after learning that new materials for surgical masks as well as other products that can be used multiple times have already been developed.

Relevant departments must improve their efficiency for quality tests and enable new products to enter production and the market at an earlier date while ensuring their quality, he said.

Li also stressed the necessity for the public to use surgical masks in the proper way.

China has so far fully recovered its production capacity of surgical masks, with Hubei province-which is the hardest hit by the outbreak-alone able to produce 324,000 surgical N95 respirators per day, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

All provincial regions on the Chinese mainland except for the Tibet autonomous region now have surgical mask producers, the commission said.

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