BANGKOK (NNT) – A representative of mask factories has insisted they are ramping up their production, with all masks produced being sent to the authorities for distribution. The Government Pharmaceutical Organization has confirmed that surgical mask shortages at hospitals will be resolved in coming days. The Ministry of Labour has also introduced a measure allowing employers to submit reduced social security payments for their employees.
The government’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Information Center today made its daily announcement regarding current government actions to overcome the impact of the epidemic.
At today’s press conference, a manager from Thai Hospital Products Paisarn Charuraksa, said the company has been increasing its production capacity of surgical masks, with the current maximum capacity now at 400,000 items per day. The company is delivering 350,000 pieces daily to the Department of Internal Trade and the Government Pharmaceutical Organization for distribution.
He said the company is trying to increase the production output to meet the rise in demand, insisting that the company doesn’t send surgical masks to any persons or companies, as the production line is now being monitored by officials from the Department of Internal Trade to prevent illegal exportation.
The company has ensured the current production is compliant with quality control measures and strict inventory control, with all information continuously shared with relevant organizations.
The Government Pharmaceutical Organization’s Managing Director Withoon Danwiboon, said today the GPO is now mainly occupied distributing the 410,700 surgical masks it receives from factories daily, to government agencies in need. The organization has successfully maintained distribution to 99 percent of hospitals in major provinces.
The Ministry of Public Health now distributes 400,000 surgical masks to public hospitals under its supervision, 30,000 masks to hospitals beyond its supervision, and 140,000 items to private hospitals and clinics, 70,000 items to hospitals under the supervision of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and 60,000 of the masks to teaching hospitals belonging to universities, as well as dental schools.
Additionally, the Ministry of Commerce now handles 500,000 surgical masks each day. 200,000 of which are allocated to those at low-risk of infection. The ministry is selling 150,000 surgical masks each day to the general public through Blue Flag stores across the country, plus 25,000 items through pharmacies, and 125,000 masks through convenience stores and government offices. The ministry has distributed some one million surgical masks over the past three days, expecting the earlier shortage to be resolved soon.
Meanwhile, an advisor to the Minister of Labour Jak Panchupetch said today the Ministry of Labour has prepared aid measures to prevent affected businesses from closing, including a measure allowing employees to take leave while receiving 75 percent of their normal wage. In addition, the Social Security Office has approved a measure allowing employers to pay a reduced contribution to their employees’ social security fund, lowered from 5 percent to 4 percent. This measure is starting this month, and will continue for six months.