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Plans to produce one million face masks a day in Cardiff

Wales is in a much stronger position to provide vital PPE equipment because of our relationships abroad and our ability to make things at home, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters has said.

It comes as manufacturing company Hardshell has brought in surgical mask making machines to create a new factory in Cardiff to produce up to a million fluid resistant face masks per day for health, social care and other key workers, in Wales and the rest of the UK.

The Welsh Government has worked closely with Hardshell and assisted them with the logistics of transporting the machines from overseas into Cardiff.

The news follows the latest shipment of equipment into Cardiff airport from China yesterday. Around 600,000 fluid resistant gowns and 1.2 million surgical masks were flown into Rhoose and transported straight into health board and local authority stores for distribution to the front-line.

This is on top of the half a million fluid-resistant gowns which were carried on board a chartered flight into the capital city’s airport at the beginning of May that have been sourced directly by NHS Wales.

The Welsh Government is working with more than 300 businesses throughout Wales to produce supplies to respond to coronavirus, including PPE.

Hardshell is now part of an impressive list of firms who have responded positively to the First Minister’s call for manufacturers to join the national effort to support healthcare workers and beat coronavirus.

Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters said:

“Businesses are going to enormous efforts to help us beat coronavirus and ensure we have a long-term supply of vital PPE items to protect Welsh frontline healthcare staff, key workers and many more across the UK.

“The significant contribution of Welsh firms and their desire and energy to meet demand has been truly fantastic and I want to thank each and every company for all that they are doing.

“Hardshell is the latest to join the national effort and the fact that they’re planning to make a million face masks each and every day is quite remarkable. Their work in producing much needed fluid resistant face masks, which we know are in huge and ongoing demand because of the regularity with which they need to be changed, will be vital in supporting people and helping save lives.

“We have also seen hundreds of thousands of supplies flown into Cardiff Airport this month which will be vital in supporting those on the frontline.

“By working collaboratively and with urgency, the Welsh Government has been able to transport supplies and equipment needed from abroad and bring it safely to Wales. Because of our success we are also able to provide mutual-aid to other parts of the UK who are facing shortages.”

Hardshell’s Chief Executive Officer Anil Kant said:

“We care passionately about saving lives.  Our key focus is the development of protective coating technologies with industrial and life-saving applications.

“It was an important decision for us to provide our expertise and skilfully increase the UK’s mask making capability to help protect the lives of patients, health care staff and key workers.

“We are collaborating with Cardiff University and other regional enterprises on our current and next generation products and will be working tirelessly over the next few weeks to get production up and running from 250,000 to a million masks a day.”

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