February 28, 2020 / 12:23 PM / a month ago

Sharp to make masks to help meet high demand to cope with new virus - Nikkei

TOKYO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Japan’s Sharp Corp will start making face masks next month, making it the first domestic manufacturer to cross industry borders in the wake of a government campaign to meet high demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Nikkei business daily reported on Friday.

Sharp, which makes sensors, camera modules and screens for Apple Inc’s iPhones, is set to begin producing masks in mid-March with a daily capacity of 150,000 masks, Nikkei reported, without citing sources.

Sharp, a unit of Taiwan’s Foxconn, expects its masks to hit shelves by the end of March.

Masks, worn by many Japanese people during the cold and allergy seasons, are recommended for those who have reason to think they might have the virus.

Masks are in short supply now as coronavirus infections spread and consumers scramble to guard themselves against the virus.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has called on Japanese businesses to boost mask output, while tapping its budget reserve to combat the virus. The government aims to boost domestic production capacity to 600 million masks per month. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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