EghtesadOnline: The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade has prohibited exports of facemasks, less than a week after it gave the green light to manufacturers to ship their surplus output to the foreign markets.
Secretary of the ministry’s Logistic Headquarters for Campaign Against Coronavirus Jamshid Golpour said on Monday that the ban follows the rising number of coronavirus infections in Iran and a subsequent decision by the government to make wearing facemasks obligatory in public places, Mehr News Agency reported.
Speaking during the headquarters' meeting on June 28, President Hassan Rouhani announced that the general public will be required to wear facemasks in roofed public places as of July 5.
Accordingly, Iran Civil Aviation Organization also said that the use of masks has become mandatory for passengers, companions, airport staff and flight crew.
The tightened regulations follow the rising number of infections in several regions.
According to the Health Ministry, nine Iranian provinces are now on red alert, which allows the imposition of curbs on high-risk counties.
In early March, when the country was struggling to meet the surging domestic market demand driven by the spread of novel coronavirus, the export of protective medical items, including gloves, gowns and facemasks, as well as other materials, such as alcohol, scrubs, disinfectants, soaps and tissues, were initially banned.
Earlier in July, with domestic production surging considerably, the Industries Ministry lifted the ban on the export of some products, namely serology kits, surgical-medical gowns, face shields and N95 facemasks, provided domestic needs are fully met.
Data provided by the Industries Ministry show that Iran has multiplied the production of protective medical equipment to support the battle against the novel coronavirus.
According to Keyvan Gordan, an official with the ministry, domestic manufacturers produced about 200,000 respiratory masks per day prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The figure has witnessed an 11-fold rise to 2.3 million per day to meet skyrocketing market demands. N95 masks’ daily output has also increased from 5,000 to 145,000, registering a 30-fold hike during the period,” he added.
Data provided by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade show more than 70.73 million three-layer facemasks were produced by 41 manufacturing units in the country since the virus outbreak.
The biggest facemask production unit in Southwest Asia, with a production capacity of 3,000 respiratory masks and 100,000 N95 masks per day, was launched in Alborz Province in April.