Foxconn, a manufacturer of Apple's iPhone intends to produce 2 million surgical masks daily to curb the spread of coronavirus. The company is also looking to reopen its plants in China, to ensure that the supply of smartphones does not drop significantly this year, according to BBC's report on February 7, 2020.

Foxconn to Produce Surgical Masks to Curb the Spread of Coronavirus

Per the report, Foxconn, a maker of the Apple iPhone including gadgets like the Playstation, iPad, and Amazon's Kindle, is looking to produce surgical masks. Reportedly, the world's largest electronics manufacturer wants to produce 2 million masks every day by month's end to curb the spread of coronavirus.

However, the test production of masks has already begun at its manufacturing plant in Shenzhen, southern China. And these masks will first be distributed among workers in the Foxconn facility, then to the outside world once full production has kicked off. The electronics giant will also rely on a new generation of infrared temperature measurement equipment to detect individuals with coronavirus in its facilities.

Growing Demand for Surgical Masks Leads to Scarcity

Of recent, there has been a high demand for surgical masks in China, which has led to its limited supply around the world. The need to use these masks stems from the fact that coronavirus is an airborne virus, and as such, one way to prevent its spread is by blocking the nose and mouth. It ensures that when a user sneezes/coughs on other people, or is sneezed/coughed on, the infection is not transmitted. Despite this, the mask itself has to be changed frequently to ensure that the person is protected always.

Explaining the need for more surgical masks, Foxconn stated that in the war against the virus, every second counts. "The earlier we take precautionary actions, the earlier we can prevent the virus, the earlier we can save lives, the sooner we can overcome this," it said.

Foxconn Advocates That its Factories be Reopened

Asides from producing surgical masks, the company is advocating that its factories in China be reopened for operations. The plants were closed after the Lunar New Year celebration, which is the first time it had to close during the holiday.

On the other hand, the closure is part of the government's tactic to reduce the spread of the epidemic. It also placed travel restrictions in the country. Nonetheless, analysts believe that the closure of factories and travel restrictions could impact the smartphone market negatively this year. It might lead to a shortage of iPhones including the iPhone 11.

What's more, General Motors is looking to provide more surgical masks in the country. In this case, SAIC-GM-Wuling, its Chinese joint venture has revealed that it will create 14 production lines to make 1.7 million surgical masks daily for the East Asian country.

Coronavirus' Rapid Spread in China Kills 811

Coronavirus, on the other hand, is a respiratory infection without a specific known cure. It was first discovered in December 2019, in Wuhan, a city in China. In January this year, there was an outbreak of the virus in the country. Recent reports reveal that 37,198 people have been infected, while 811 have been killed by the virus. The virus has also led to the death of more people than the 2002 - 2003 SARs outbreak.

Nonetheless, residents of the country have time and again revealed that the numbers are more than what the government or media is reporting. Based on clips on videos posted on YouTube, there appears to be a more heighten rise in the virus's spread and the number of deaths that have occurred.

Several countries including Australia, Canada, Cambodia, France, the US, Germany, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, etc. have reported cases of coronavirus. As it stands, the virus has made its way to 25 countries and has now become a major global concern. Countries like Uganda have quarantined 100 people even though there are no reports of an infected person.

The World Health Organization recently classified coronavirus as a global health emergency, noting that it could grow more rapidly if it enters Africa. According to WHO, health systems in African countries are already battling with the workload and medical experts have their hands full. As such, it would make it even more difficult to access medical services if there was an outbreak in the continent.