SIDON, Lebanon: As the coronavirus sweeps across Lebanon at a time when medical equipment is in short supply, a small garment factory in the southern city of Sidon has taken action to contribute to the fight against the disease.
Every day, seamstresses at the Al Omm sewing factory stich together protective body suits to be worn by medical staff treating patients and suspected patients of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
They are made out of a waterproof material called TMT, the company’s executive director Wafaa Wehbi told The Daily Star Saturday. The coronavirus, which was first recorded in Lebanon on Feb. 21, is spread via tiny water droplets from the nose or mouth.
Between 40 and 50 women work at the factory and are able to produce upwards of 200 suits per day, before they are sold on to hospitals, pharmacies and other private companies.
The coronavirus arrived in Lebanon at a time when the country was already suffering from its worst economic crisis in decades. Dollar shortages have threatened the import of essential goods, such as oil, wheat and even medical supplies.
Many medical professionals have warned that the country is not equipped to deal with a large-scale outbreak.
“Because of this crisis, we have had to put all our other work on hold to make the suits,” Wehbe said.
The Health Ministry announced Saturday that there are a total of 93 confirmed cases in Lebanon. Three people have died from the disease and one has recovered fully.
In order to protect the safety of the employees, all the necessary preventative precautions are being taken, including taking each person’s temperature as they arrive each morning, providing them with full protective gear and sterilizing the factory on a daily basis.
“We are supporting the Lebanese community at this difficult time and inshallah a cure for this disease will be found soon,” Wehbe said.