Following the spread of the coronavirus in Herat province, and the rise in the price of masks and other hygiene supplies, a mask-production plant has begun operating in Herat's industrial city.
The factory claims to have a production capacity exceeding 60,000 masks daily.
The Ministry of Public Health says the masks produced at the plant are of good quality and could play an important role in reducing the spread of the coronavirus in Herat.
Fada Mohammed Peykan, deputy minister of health services, Ministry of Public Health, says the plant has alleviated concerns about the shortage of masks and has the capacity to meet the needs of Herat province.
“The quality of the masks produced in this factory is in line with the excellent health standards in Herat,” said Peykan.
“Since Herat province has declared a state of emergency due to the introduction of the coronavirus, the plant has the capacity to produce 60,000 masks at a time. We have contracts with some hospitals and pharmacies and produce these masks,” said Mohammad Jawed Sherzad, the plant director.
Herat residents complain of rising prices for masks and other health supplies in the province. According to them, since the spread of the coronavirus, the mask price has multiplied.
“I bought a mask for twenty afghanis and a pack of gloves for three hundred afghanis, a few days ago the price of these masks and gloves was very low,” said Omid, a resident of Herat.
“I bought a mask for twenty afghanis and the market can also charge thirty afghanis. A few days ago these masks were ten, five or two Afghanis,” said Ghulam Hazrat Haidari, another resident of Herat city.
On social media, online sellers in Afghanistan are now advertising high-quality masks--exceeding simple paper masks--for as much as 400 afghanis; similar masks were closer to 50 afghanis before the coronavirus incident in Herat was reported.
Local authorities in Herat say the relevant institutions are overseeing the market and those who sell hygiene products, such as masks, at high prices will face legal trouble.
“Monitoring teams are assigned and examining the market--not letting prices go up in the market--and if anyone gets too expensive, they are criminals and will be dealt with,” said Abdul Qayoum Rahimi, Herat's provincial governor.
It is the first mask production plant in the country to be launched since the coronavirus was reported.
With the recording of a positive case of coronavirus in Herat province, the price dramatically increased, and it is expected that with the launch of the plant in the Herat province, the price for mask will be reduced.