A Whanganui business is playing a crucial role in supplying New Zealand workers with equipment needed to protect from Covid-19 virus and can now crank out 80,000 face masks a day. New equipment is on the way to do more.

The Whanganui factory producing 80,000 masks a day has attracted the attention of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who shared a video of the operation to her millions of social media followers.

Demand for personal protective equipment by health and non-health workers has been unprecedented, Health Minister David Clark said, and Quality Safety International (QSi) in Whanganui's Pacific Place is manufacturing at least 80,000 masks a day.

Ardern noted more machinery was on the way so output could step up.

Advertisement

"I'll admit, I have watched this video more than once," she wrote.

"This is a factory in Whanganui churning out face masks to help keep our essential service workers safe.

"They can produce at least 80,000 masks a day (including those our frontline health workers need) and with new machinery due in coming weeks and months they will be able to double production."

I’ll admit, I have watched this video more than once. This is a factory in Whanganui churning out face masks to help keep our essential service workers safe. They can produce at least 80,000 masks a day (including those our frontline health workers need) and with new machinery due in coming weeks and months they will be able to double production. Add to that the 18million masks we already have in our national reserves and we’re well stocked. The Ministry of Health is working to get those distributed as we speak (more than 600,000 went out to DHBs yesterday). In the meantime, enjoy watching them roll off the line right here in NZ

Posted by Jacinda Ardern on Thursday, 26 March 2020

Since January, QSi's fulltime focus has been on making N95 pandemic masks and surgical ASTM level 2 face masks, under contract to the Ministry of Health.

ogistical support is being added to speed the distribution of masks.

Access to the factory site has been banned, a ministry spokesperson said. NeedToKnow3

"QSi is strictly enforcing access to its site and staff in accordance with the requirements of the Level 4 alert state; QSi is essential to the Government's Covid-19 response and cannot afford to have staff get sick."

The company referred questions from the Chronicle to the ministry.

In 2007 QSi was awarded a Ministry of Health contract to manufacture face masks to protect people from the bird flu virus, and from dust.

Advertisement

In that year it won two awards and the supreme award in what was then the ABN AMRO Craig's Wanganui Business of the Year Awards. • Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website