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  • Pop-up shop, textile company enters Pakistan’s crazy mask market

    Karachi: As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across Pakistan, the chaotic market for face masks has sprung up. In the early days, front-line medical staff and the public screamed for masks and other personal protective equipment, because production companies in Pakistan and around the world were struggling with a series of obstacles ranging from disease to freight, from accumulation to the shortage of filters. In Pakistan, where more than 270,000 infections have been recorded so far, the shortage of masks was so severe in March and April that health workers turned to social media for help, and citizens accumulated supplies, which caused prices to rise by 2,000%. However, with the emergence of hundreds of new mask brokers and companies across the country, these problems have become a thing of the past. Owais Ahmed, the manager of a garment factory, said: “I closed all jobs after the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and all businesses closed down, but now I am very happy because I Found a better choice.” At the Bolton Market in Karachi for the past two months. Ahmed said that he sells up to 20 boxes of masks per day (an average of 50 masks per box), and each box costs 600 rupees (3.5 US dollars). The N95 device, a popular item in the mask industry, is stronger than surgical masks and has better filters, and is priced at Rs 300 per piece. According to Abdul Samad Memon, senior vice chairman of the Pakistan Association of Chemists and Anesthesiologists, a box of masks imported from China can be sold at a maximum price of 100 rupees, up to 2,300 rupees in March. But the authorities’ raids slowed prices down, and as major textile companies changed their assembly lines to cover manufacturing, more production units were established. Ijaz Khokhar, chief coordinator of the Pakistan Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that many textile sectors operating in Faisalabad, Lahore and Karachi have completely switched to producing masks for local supply and marketing. He said that on average, 500,000 to 600,000 masks are produced every day at the textile factory in Faisalabad. In early March, the World Health Organization estimated that COVID-19 response measures would require 89 million medical masks per month, which requires a 40% increase in global manufacturing. Medical suppliers and officials in the healthcare industry complained that the enthusiasm for producing masks undermined standard quality control, causing a flood of uncertain masks into the market. Manufacturers claim that they have met all the quality standards for export masks, especially those exported to the US and the UK, and are working to make up for the “quality defects” in the masks supplied to local buyers. With the steady decline in viral infections around the world, suppliers are beginning to worry about the prospects of their new business. Shahzad Ahmed Siddiqui (Shahzad Ahmed Siddiqui) said: “I think the mask business will continue throughout the year.” Due to the coronavirus lockdown, his clothing business closed and switched to selling masks. But Owais Ahmed worries that the mask business will soon decline. When he arranged masks in the store, he said: “The business will last until Eid.” “The biggest business will last 15 to 20 days, and no more than this day.”
    Minsk: Thousands of opposition supporters applauded, cheered and chanted at a rally in Minsk on Thursday night to protest against the suppression by the government of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko before the presidential election this weekend. Lukashenko, a 65-year-old former Soviet collective farm manager, faced the biggest challenge in years. He accused the demonstrators of working with foreign supporters and destabilizing the country. Protests surged to support his main challenger Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, a former English teacher who launched a bid after her husband who planned to run was in prison. Her campaign was forbidden from holding planned gatherings on Thursday night, so her supporters gathered at a government-approved outdoor concert in another location. Riot police arrested the DJ after playing the song “Changes” favored by the opposition. “It’s an amazing atmosphere, awesome people, I want to be with them. I want to change.” 47-year-old teacher Irina said she only gave her name. Lukashenko announced earlier that some American nationals had been detained, but did not disclose when or why. As relations with traditional ally Moscow broke, Belarus tried to mend the fence with Washington. In February, Belarus received Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the top US official who has visited for more than two decades. Berta News Agency quoted Lukashenko as saying: “Some people have been detained American passports, married to Americans, and work in the State Department.” The US embassy in the capital Minsk did not respond to a request for comment. Belarus and Russia also conducted barb deals against a group of suspected Russian mercenaries who were detained in Belarus in July and accused of conspiring to incite unrest. Russia stated that these people were employees of a private security company and were on their way across Belarus to Latin America. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that these people should return to Russia. Lukashenko said they violated the law. He said: “The mixed war against Belarus is ongoing, and we should expect dirty tricks from any aspect.”

    Post time: Aug-07-2020