With the official figure crossing 100, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in India have increased sharply over the last two weeks. With increasing number of cases, people have resorted to buying large number of face masks as a preventive measure.
This has led to a huge shortage of face masks across the country. At some places vendors are even selling these masks at thrice the original price.
Amid this fear, Kerala government has come up with a unique way to deal with the mask shortage. They have deployed prisoners in state prisons to manufacture masks and maintain a steady supply.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan took to Twitter to share the pictures of the first batch of masks manufactured by the prisoners at Thiruvananthapuram Jail.
#COVID19 | Solving The Mask Problem 😷— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) March 14, 2020
In light of the shortage, directions were given to engage the prisons in the State in manufacturing masks. It has commenced on a war footing basis. Today, the Prison officials of Thiruvananthapuram Jail have handed over the first batch. pic.twitter.com/QKgHWqYNOg
In conversation with The Print, CMO Kerala informed that a thousand masks were handed over to the health department on Saturday and another 5,000 masks were made available on Sunday.
These two-layered cotton masks have been made by the tailoring units of the prisons and are washable and reusable. They have been priced at Rs 15-20 per piece.
While some people are questioning the hygiene practised in manufacturing these masks, others are lauding the Kerala government for its initiative in the time of crisis.
Does it comply with the medical recommendations? N95 or something like that.— s.m (@samikm_2003) March 15, 2020
This guy… Is a Prime minister material. Instead of gowmuthra, sangiees .. pls drink his..— மகிபாலன்பட்டியான் (@ibmnmbmimi) March 14, 2020
Mask production is highly specialized procedure. It’s not getting untrained prison workers and tying four strings of cloth to a large rectangular bit of cloth…— Hand Washing is Bae❤️😉 (@Ateendriyo) March 15, 2020
Using such unhygienic, unscientific masks will be counterproductive, please avoid 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿 https://t.co/9qIDfZKIz2
This is possible only when a govt is not run by crony capitalists..— Arun Kumar ❤️🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳 (@ArunKumarMV11) March 14, 2020
Kudos to you and your entire team for wonderful work against Coronavirus outbreak— Rishi (@SunoRishi) March 14, 2020
How Kerala is tackling Corona virus pandemic should be a case study.— Madhuri (తెలుగింటి అమ్మాయి) (@madhuriketa) March 14, 2020
This is effective utilization of resources. You are leading from the front, be it floods and now covid19. Wonderful job sir. People of Kerala must be lucky to have you as their CM! GOD BLESS.— Jahanzaib (@jahanzaib0126) March 14, 2020
Not just masks, the Kerala government is also trying to increase the supply of hand sanitisers with the help of Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals. The body is expected to produce 10 lakh bottles of hand sanitisers in the next 10 days.
It should be noted that Kerala was the first state in India to report a positive case of coronavirus on 30th January. Later, 2 more cases were confirmed and the patients were discharged after recovery.