Petchems to Prioritize Virus Fight
EghtesadOnline: The oil minister has asked petrochemical companies to supply raw materials for products needed for battling the coronavirus.
In a tweet on Friday, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh wrote: “All petrochemical companies whose products are used as raw material for making goods related to the fight against the Covid-19, regardless of other priorities, should supply downstream industries to avoid shortages,” IRNA reported.
The call comes as the second wave of the deadly virus hit over a month ago. Iran has seen an upsurge in infections and a marked increase in daily deaths in the past several days.
Since late February, when the first cases of the disease were reported, petrochemical companies and chemical manufactures raised output of javel water, medical alcohol and antiseptic solutions to help defeat the deadly virus.
They have also increased production of raw material used in making protective gear and hospital equipment such as face masks along with medical and surgical gowns.
Face Mask Production
Wearing face masks has become obligatory in certain public places in the country as they can cut the risk of contracting Covid-19 by 85%.
Domestic companies produced 200,000 respiratory masks a day prior to the pandemic. Now it is 2.3 million per day. Daily production of N95 masks also has increased from 5,000 to 145,000.
Data show more than 71 million three-layer face masks have been produced by domestic manufacturing units since the virus outbreak.
Javel Water and Medical Alcohol
Karoun Petrochemical Company in Mahshahr, Khuzestan Province, has placed the production of javel water on its priority list, managing director of Petrochemical Special Economic Zone Organization said.
“Over 5 million tons of javel water have been produced so far by Karoun Company and distributed across the country free,” Omid Shahidinia said.
Javel water, also known as liquid bleach or just bleach, is an aqueous solution containing sodium hypochlorite and some sodium chloride.
It is effective for disinfecting viruses, bacteria, fungi and germs and is also used to whiten clothes and remove stains.
He said 50,000 bottles of medical alcohol were sent to hospitals nationwide.
Safety measures against the virus include cleaning hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are convenient compared to hand washing with soap and water in most situations. Hand washing is a must if contamination is seen or doubted.
Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol or contain a persistent antiseptic kill different kinds of germs and viruses, including enveloped viruses such as the flu virus, common cold virus and coronavirus.
Allocating Over $2 Million
The Strategic Council of Petrochemical Industries allocated $1.2 million to battle the virus, which has been spent and another $1 million has been considered, Shahidinia said.
Petrochemical Research and Technology Company, a subsidiary of the National Petrochemical Company, is a major producer of antiseptic solutions.
Antiseptics and germicides are chemical agents that destroy microorganisms that cause disease. Topical antiseptics are applied to the skin, nails or mucus membranes to cleanse wounds and prevent infection.
Arvand Petrochemical Company has increased output of caustic chemicals for downstream industries and manufacturers of detergents, sanitary products and caustic cleaners.
Caustic cleaners are cleaning products that contain highly alkaline and corrosive caustic chemicals. They are common in a range of industries, including health and metal cleaning.
Other petrochemical companies including Lordegan, Kermanshah, Pazargad, Maroun, Jam and Shazand among others are also producing alcohol-based disinfectants and materials for packaging containers, javel water, and polypropylene granules used in making disposable medical apparel.
The latter is produced on the request of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. They are used by healthcare workers in hospitals, who are risking their own lives to save the sick.
Iran has confirmed about 270,000 cases of infection with the new coronavirus and around 14,000 dead by Saturday afternoon.
The coronavirus, which was first reported in China in December, has also caused an outbreak of respiratory illness all over the world.
The total number of people worldwide who have tested positive for the virus has reportedly exceeded 14.2 million with over 600,000 deaths.