According to the Associated Press, Sharp, the Japanese multinational corporation plans to use one of its factories in Japan to make surgical masks in order to keep up with the growing demand amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Its plant in Kameyama, Mie prefecture, which was initially used for assembling TVs and producing LCD panels will now be used to make 150,000 masks a day by the end of this month and hope to produce up to 500,000 face masks a day
The plant is said to be conducive for face mask production due to its pristine standards. This is because high-quality electronic displays are usually made in “germ-free” plants. All of this does beg the question, why would an electronics giant decide to start producing face masks? The Associated Press reports that Sharp, based in Osaka, said in a statement that they hope this act would serve as a contribution to society. With regards to the pricing or the distribution of the masks, nothing has been decided yet.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines state that masks should only be worn by healthy people when they are caring for someone who is suspected to have been infected with the virus. This is because if everyone started buying masks it would worsen the shortage of them. Another reason, as reported by Forbes, is that there is no evidence that wearing masks will protect healthy people. However, for those who display symptoms, it may help slow the spreading when paired with regular hand-washing. Malaysia has recorded 4 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 29.
According to the Health Ministry, below is the COVID-19 statistic as of 8 am today.