Tremendous boost in production of covid-19 protective products

Financial Tribune – Iran has increased the production of protective medical equipment to support the battle against the novel coronavirus disease, Covid-19, according to an official with the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade.

“Domestic manufacturers produced 200,000 respiratory masks per day prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The figure has witnessed an 11-fold rise to 2.3 million per day now to meet the skyrocketing market demand,” Secretary of the Logistic Headquarters of the Industries Ministry for Campaign Against Coronavirus Jamshid Golpour was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.

“The daily output of N95 masks has also increased from 5,000 to 145,000, registering a 30-fold hike,” he added.

Iran recorded its first coronavirus case on Feb. 19.

Golpour noted that the production of medical gloves hovered around 2 million pairs per day before the new virus emerged, which has risen to 4.5 million pairs per day, indicating a 150% jump.

In case of sanitizers and detergents, the official added, domestic companies have increased their hand wash production to 450,000 tons per day, marking a 36% growth compared to the pre-coronavirus period.

“Soap production grew by 33% from 180,000 tons per day to 240,000 tons per day,” he said.

Golpour added that ethanol production has almost doubled during the period from 170,000 liters to 300,000 liters per day.

“Disinfectants observed an eightfold rise from 50,000 liters to 400,000 liters per day,” he added.

Exports of Surplus Output

Keyvan Gordan, an official with the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, says the surplus domestic facemask and disinfectant output will be exported to international markets, following the ministry’s green light for the exports of several coronavirus-related medical items.

“The export of three-layer facemasks is still banned, but the ministry has issued the permit for the export of N95 masks,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.

“The export of disinfectants is allowed now, provided the domestic demand is fully met,” he added.

The export of protective medical items, including gloves, gowns and facemasks, as well as other materials, such as alcohol, scrubs, disinfectants, soaps and tissues, were banned in March when the country was struggling to meet the surging domestic demand driven by the spread of novel coronavirus.

Earlier in July, the Industries Ministry lifted the ban on the export of some products, namely serology kits, surgical-medical gowns, face shields and N95 facemasks, following the considerable surge in the manufacturing of such essential medical items by domestic producers.

Data provided by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade show more than 70.73 million three-layer facemasks were produced by 41 manufacturing units in the country since the virus outbreak.

The biggest facemask production unit in Southwest Asia, with a production capacity of 3,000 respiratory masks and 100,000 N95 masks per day, was launched in Alborz Province in April.

The data also illustrate that domestic companies produced over 6.6 million pairs of surgical gloves, 381.9 million pairs of rubber gloves and more than 154 million pairs of nylon gloves during the four-month period.

More than 1.05 million surgical gowns and 852,000 face shields were also manufactured during the period to keep up with the spiking demand for these items.

The production of ethyl alcohol (ethanol) by 33 domestic firms has exceeded 30 million liters, the ministry’s data show.

The industrial units also produced over 25,000 tons of disinfectants and hand sanitizers, as well as 89.5 million alcohol pads during the same period.

In the wake of the rising cases of coronavirus infection in Iran, many industrial and petrochemical units have joined hands to raise ethanol output capacity to boost disinfectant production as a much-needed measure against the spread of coronavirus.

The Health Ministry is working with the industry to ensure production standards are fully met.

Since the US unilateral sanctions challenged Iran’s initial response to the pandemic, the country has taken a wide range of steps to assist domestic producers to supply rising demand so as to slash dependency on foreign sources.