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SoftBank To Supply 300 Mn Masks To Japan Every Month To Help Contain COVID-19

SoftBank Group Corp CEO Masayoshi Son announced that he has secured a deal with BYD Co Ltd to provide a monthly supply of 300 million face masks for Japan.

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SoftBank Group Corp CEO Masayoshi Son announced that he has secured a deal with BYD Co Ltd to provide a monthly supply of 300 million face masks for Japan. The Korean-Japanese billionaire took to Twitter to announce that the company will start delivering the masks from May which will include 100 million N95 masks and 200 million surgical masks.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been facing criticism over the shortage of masks and Chinese mask makers are rushing in to fill the orders. BYD Co Ltd, a Chinese electric vehicle maker which has also started producing masks, shared a video on its YouTube channel saying the company has achieved a daily output of 15 million masks.

“As a representative of Chinese industry, BYD has the social responsibility to make masks, going all out to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic,” said Wang Chuanfu, Chairman and President of BYD, in a statement.

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The EV manufacturer said that BYD decided to be self-sufficient and build the machines from scratch since it would typically take about 40 days to purchase mask-making machines. Describing the massive achievement through the video, the company said that more than 400 design blueprints were drawn up in just 3 days and the company used its wire electrode cutting equipment to make its own gears because the necessary gears were not available.

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BYD said that 90 per cent of the more than 1,300 components needed for mask-making machines were made in-house. The company added that it took just 7 days to convert these designs into fully functional mask-making production lines. 

“These masks have been shipped to people who need them most urgently, such as hospitals, local governments and many more,” said BYD in a statement.

Sudden spike

After the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, Japan reported a sudden spike in the number of coronavirus cases raising a few eyebrows. On March 24, the day when the postponement was announced, Japan had reported just 1,140 diagnosed cases of COVID-19. However, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Japan has now shot up to 7,370 with 123 reported deaths due to the infection.

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(Image Credit: AP)

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