BGMEA is also making masks to ease the personal protective equipment shortage
Amid the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medical personnel in fighting coronavirus, Marks & Spencer Bangladesh has come forward to manufacture PPE and distribute them among physicians for free.
Production began on Saturday night with the approval of the health ministry.
Readymade garment factories who supply apparel products to British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer will manufacture four lakh PPE in the next two weeks.
Facebook-based linkage platform of donors and recipients "Pay it Forward, Bangladesh [Let us spread Kindness]" will be ensuring coordination while the Central Medical Stores Depot will distribute the safety attires.
The news came amid a tense situation when medical personnel both at public and private healthcare facilities have been referring patients with Covid-19 symptoms to government-designated hospitals.
Even at the designated medical facilities, concern is growing over further spread of the virus as doctors only have government-provided masks, hand gloves and surgical gowns instead of hazmat suits.
In the meantime, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) says it will hand over 100,000 masks to local authorities on Wednesday.
Local textile factories have started making those and will donate to hospitals spontaneously, said BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq.
"So, if you have any requirement, please let us know whom to give them to, apart from hospitals," she added.
Regarding the Marks & Spencer's move, Rubana said the company's Country Manager Shwapna Bhowmick had shared the news with her.
The BGMEA president said, "A few fabric mills have developed water repellent fabric on a test basis. They are sending us the samples now. Those will not be perfect, but at least they will do for the time being."
Rubana said Marks & Spencer is ready to make masks too as soon as they get the fabric.