Gaza, blocked and impoverished, but little touched by the coronavirus, has manufactured and exported more than 600,000 masks and 100,000 protective suits in the last three weeks for European countries, sources from Hamas in the enclave reported today.
Four textile factories in the Strip have for weeks been intensively producing face masks, uniforms and gloves in order to export them to Israel, the occupied West Bank and multiple countries fighting the pandemic, including Spain and Italy.
“The production and export of anti-coronavirus masks and suits from Gaza to the world is a way of expressing the kindness of the Palestinian people and the citizens of the Strip,” Basem Naim, a high official of Hamas and director of the Council, told Efe of International Relations of the Islamist movement, which has de facto controlled the enclave since 2007.
The textile factories union in the Strip, under Israeli blockade since Hamas took control, told Efe today that the products are exported through Israel and bear the label “Made in Gaza”.
One of the factories involved is that of Taysir Al-Bawab, whose 20 workers were until recently engaged in the manufacture of clothing and have now devoted all their efforts to producing clothing necessary to combat the spread of the pandemic.
For Al-Bawab, the global crisis due to the virus was a “golden opportunity” for his factory, which “now generates profits and jobs” that compensate for the losses caused by the blockade, which severely damaged his business by stopping the trade with Israeli companies.
Another of the factories that has started manufacturing face masks for export is Emad Habub, which also modified its production to adapt to the needs of the market and who, although highlighting the quality of the products manufactured in the enclave, warned that soon they will face a shortage of raw materials.
Thirteen cases of coronavirus have been confirmed by the Gaza Health Ministry so far in the enclave, nine of which have been recovered, while the remaining four remain isolated and under observation at a quarantine center on the border with Egypt to prevent the virus spreads into the Strip, whose enormous population density and precarious health system would make it difficult to control the pandemic.