Namibian tailors embark on mass production of masks amid COVID-19 outbreak

Friday, May 15th, 2020 00:00 |
A tailor displays some of the reusable face masks she produced, in Windhoek, capital of Namibia. (Xinhua/Musa C Kaseke)

The sound of sewing machines dominated the warehouse at Dinapama Manufacturing, a local tailoring company in the Namibian capital Windhoek. Tailors prepared for an unprecedented order, making masks to meet the demand, as Namibia faces a severe shortage.

"This is different from normal clothing orders and other products that we normally manage," said David Namalenga, managing director of Dinapama Manufacturing on Monday.

Dinapama Manufacturing is one of the local companies identified by Namibia's Trade Ministry to tailor masks as the country face a critical shortage.

The tailors see it as their contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

"We are ready. Together we will make it," said Namalenga.

Another tailor, Frieda Hausiku, who runs a garment company, said her primary motive for participating in the project is to help Namibia battle COVID-19.

"I play a role as an anti-COVID-19 agent," said Hausiku.

Lucia Iipumbu, Trade Minister, said that the country is in dire need of face masks, and local tailors identified would produce 25,000 needed to combat the spread of COVID-19.

"Once the lockdown is lifted, each person will be required to wear a mask. Thus, with the help of our tailors, we see it appropriate to upscale mask manufacturing," Iipumbu said.

The Namibian government declared a state of emergency and subsequent lockdown following the announcement of confirmed COVID-19 cases early March.

According to Iipumbu, the local production is in line with the country's "Growth at Home Strategy", aimed at improving the production and supply capacity of local enterprises, in turn, boosting the country's crippling economy.

The Namibian economy is estimated to lose 2 billion Namibian dollars (about 110 million U.S. dollars) a week due to pandemic.

"Local production would also address challenges faced with the importation of masks or material amongst other products," she said.

The masks will be produced according to the technical specification requirements set by the Namibia Standard Institute, a quality assurance agency.

Namibia has recorded 16 cases of COVID-19, of which eight cases have recovered. (Xinhua)

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