In a document sent to the people’s committees of all cities and provinces on Thursday, the ministry said due to the spreading of the novel coronavirus, more people are wearing face masks to protect themselves from the virus, leading to a huge quantity of discarded masks.
However, the disposal of used masks was not properly implemented, posing a potential threat to the community.
In order to ensure the prevention and control of the epidemic, the ministry has asked local authorities to help people comply with the ministry's recommendations on proper disposal of used masks.
The People's Committees of localities were asked to help health facilities set up special dumping sites for used masks as a kind of medical waste.
They were required to closely co-ordinate with local specialised units to intensify supervision of violations in which collected discarded medical masks were re-sold and re-used.
Other used masks for ordinary protection purposes must be collected and discharged as ordinary waste.
Recently, images of used face masks littering the streets were posted on online newspapers and social media, raising public concern over the spreading of the disease.
Under the Government’s Decree 155/2016, those who littered discarded medical waste such as medical masks in public places would be fined between VND3-5 million (US$129-214). Fines of up to VND7 million would be given to those who littered in the city’s drainage system.
Sufficient supply of medical masks
Many enterprises have joined efforts to boost production of medical masks amid the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the enterprises have committed to not increasing prices to meet the public demand in preventing the spread of the virus.
The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group currently has a production capacity of about 250,000 pieces per day. The number is expected to reach 450,000 pieces per day after February 17.
The Textile Research Institute Joint Stock Company under the group has processed antibacterial solution for 10 tonnes of fabric and provided four tonnes of cloth, an equivalent to 200,000 masks, for production by domestic garment enterprises.
Hoàng Dương Trading and Service Joint Stock Company (Canifa) will provide 250,000 cloth masks with stable prices at all stores nationwide between February 8 and March 8.
Supermarket chains, including Saigon Co-op, Big C, Vinmart and Vinmartplus, reported that face masks and hand sanitiser will be available from the end of February.