Thailand’s Commerce Minister is questioning why many hospitals have not yet received fresh supplies of protective face-masks. Jurin Laksanawisit said the Prime Minister has launched an investigation to pinpoint why there is an acute shortage of face masks.
The team will check shops and scrutinize the whole face mask supply chain. Above all to detect whether and where the face masks are being hoarded. Shops will be asked where they ordered their face masks and if they received them. If the factories delivered fewer than ordered, the factories would have to explain.
According to the Bangkok Post, the Prime Minister said more than a million masks a day should be in circulation.
The Commerce Minister said on Wednesday that he’d asked the Public Health Ministry; Food and Drug Administration and Government Pharmaceutical Organisation; to review distribution with the Department of Internal Trade to make sure all hospitals are adequately supplied.
Face mask factory’s to work 24 hour a day
Medical personnel are playing a crucial role in checking the spread of the coronavirus. Furthermore they are at far greater risk than anyone else of being infected, the Minister stressed. He also said public demand for the face masks cannot be neglected.
With 11 factories working full out to produce over a million masks a day, the Commerce Ministry will also have 20 vans selling them in busy areas of Bangkok for Bt2.5 (S$0.10) each, he announced.
“The ministry has ordered all 11 factories to operate 24 hours a day for the next week,” he told Asia One.
In rural areas, the Department of Local Administration is responsible for producing 150 million masks a day. And also distributing them to the public, he said.
The price of masks is capped at 2.5 baht. However, similar masks are sold at higher prices overseas. The prime minister insisted the price will remain firmly under control. The government said it also had to be fair to the factories.