Gaza garment factory shifts production to masks amid coronavirus

Palestinian workers make protective face masks to be exported and sold in the local market [Mahmud Hams/AFP]
Palestinian workers make protective face masks to be exported and sold in the local market. (photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP)
Some 12 cases have been confirmed in Gaza, as well as hundreds in the occupied West Bank and thousands in Israel.

By Fedaa al-Qedra | Aljazeera | Apr 5, 2020

The factory also has to contend with frequent power outages that are commonplace in Gaza and last for eight hours a day, a result of the blockade and tensions between Hamas and the PA in the occupied West Bank.

Gaza City, Gaza – The Unipal garment factory in the besieged Gaza Strip has not operated at full speed for more than a decade, but on a recent morning hundreds of workers hunched over rows of sewing machines here, making medical masks and surgical gowns.

As the rapid global spread of the coronavirus pandemic triggered a surge in demand for these items last month, the factory located in an industrial zone east of Gaza City changed its business from producing clothing to sought-after medical items.

The Gaza Strip, a densely populated coastal enclave surrounded by Israel and Egypt, has been under a crippling blockade by the two countries since 2007.

However, 12 infections have been reported here, most of which were among a group of people who recently returned to Gaza and had been placed in quarantine, along with several guards at the facility.

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