May 11, 2020 / 8:46 PM / 21 days ago

Morocco clears disposable face masks for export

FILE PHOTO: Employees packs protective face masks at a factory as Morocco starts to increase their production following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Casablanca, Morocco April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco has cleared disposable face masks for export after reaching a daily production capacity of 10 million daily by 24 factories during the new coronavirus outbreak, industry minister Hafid Elalamy said on Monday.

An average of 2 million masks are sold daily in Morocco and the surplus will be exported after having secured a strategic stockpile of 50 million masks, Elalamy told members of parliament.

Reusable masks will only be cleared for export once Morocco secures a stockpile of 15 million, he said.

Morocco, which has been on lockdown since March 20, has made wearing face masks mandatory since April 7.

The north African country has been exporting medical protective gear and face shields, the minister said. He added that Morocco has secured self-sufficiency in ethanol, key to making sanitisers, with a daily production capacity of 24,000 litres.

An advanced version of a Moroccan-made ventilator that requires intubation is undergoing trials, Elalamy said.

By Monday evening, Morocco confirmed 6,281 cases including 188 deaths from the virus.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; editing by Grant McCool

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