US automaker Ford said Tuesday it will produce 100,000 face shields for medical personnel at its Chihuahua plant in northern Mexico, where it typically makes engines.
“Ford of Mexico aims to produce 100,000 face shields within the next few days and as needed to increase production in the coming weeks,” the company said in a statement.
Ford, which suspended automotive operations due to the pandemic, said that 20,000 protectors will be sent to the northern states of Chihuahua and Sonora, and the Guanajuato and State of Mexico plants.
Another 60,000 will be delivered to the Mexican government and the remaining 20,000 will be sent to Central America.
“By completely blocking the face and eyes from accidental liquid contact, face shields will provide greater safety to the medical service that is in constant contact with patients infected with this virus,” added Ford.
The plant where Ford will produce face shields began operations in 1983 and has a capacity to manufacture 700,000 engines annually.
Mexico is in a race against time to acquire the medical supplies that will allow it to face the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far left more than 8,700 infections and more than 700 deaths.
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The country has received planes loaded with supplies from China to deal with the emergency. However, for several days, health personnel had protested the lack of equipment to care for patients with coronavirus.
On April 21, Mexico announced that it had moved to phase 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also renewed calls to reduce restrictions in over 1,000 municipalities in the coming weeks.
Mexico has only test 40,000 people out of the 130 million citizens nationwide.