Face mask factory first for Bahrain

The factory can produce 40 samples per minute of N95 masks making 1m monthly, plus 100 samples per minute of 3 PLY surgical masks making 3m masks every month

  
A man wearing a face mask carrying a shopping bag walks in a local Souq (traditional market), following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manama, Bahrain, October 16, 2020.

A man wearing a face mask carrying a shopping bag walks in a local Souq (traditional market), following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manama, Bahrain, October 16, 2020.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Bahrain’s first face mask factory capable of producing at least four million essential protective coverings monthly has been given a seal of approval by a health regulator.

The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) yesterday granted a licence to Aegis Medical to operate its 750sqm factory in Bahrain.

Demand

The factory in Hidd has already started to produce ‘Made in Bahrain’ quality N95 and 3 PLY masks to supply the local market to meet a soaring demand in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officials did not announce the development’s cost but revealed that it was fully operational and backed by Kuwaiti investors.

The factory can produce 40 samples per minute of N95 masks making 1m monthly, plus 100 samples per minute of 3 PLY surgical masks making 3m masks every month.

“We have granted a licence to the first factory approved to manufacture face masks in Bahrain, and this is part of the country’s ongoing efforts to promote investment in the health sector,” said NHRA chief executive Dr Mariam Al Jalahma.

She added that investments will help in the fight against the virus which has claimed 300 lives in the kingdom.

“We welcome such ventures in the health sector that highlight the opportunities and incentives offered by ‘Business-Friendly Bahrain’ making it a hub for medical investments,” added Dr Jalahma.

Aegis Medical board’s vice chairman Daoud Al Humood praised the high-level of co-operation provided by the Bahrain authorities in setting up the operation.

“We wanted to establish a mask factory in Bahrain with a group of Kuwaiti investors that would daily produce N95 and 3 Ply masks to international standards,” he said.

“It is now a reality and we are using cutting-edge technology to manufacture the face masks on our two production lines.

“This is a crucial step to meet industry needs in Bahrain and we appreciate the support of the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry for the smooth registration procedures in place.”

Security

Mr Al Humood added Bahrain offers a series of tax exemptions for medical products and its open market policy made the decision to set up in the kingdom an ‘easy’ one.

“The Covid-19 crisis has created a new reality and pushed countries towards concentrating on stronger food and health security,” he added.

“Many countries stopped exporting medical supplies to meet their own domestic demands but this mask factory in Bahrain will be a key gateway into the Gulf market.”

There has been a global stampede for disposable masks as the pandemic rages, coupled with a growing awareness of the need for face protection.

The N95 masks are increasingly used by healthcare workers, while 3 PLY masks are popular among the masses and the demand is likely to grow even when a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available.

A report published last month by Research Drive stated that global protective face masks market is projected to surpass $2.4m during the forecast period from 2020 until 2027.

Bahrain made the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places and commercial outlets in April.

Mandatory

The only exceptions are while exercising or travelling inside vehicles.

Authorities last month increased the fine for face mask violators from BD5 to BD20 as part of a crackdown to stop the spread of the virus.

Community police or other personnel from the Interior Ministry continue issuing on-the-spot fines to those who fail to wear a mask or use it incorrectly.

More than 24,500 face mask violators have been fined according to latest figures released.

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