Thai mom's face shields protect against virus and villains

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - A single mother in Thailand is doing brisk business out of face shields with characters from cartoons, games and sci-fi movies, hoping to cash in and promote safety for children as her country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

From her small studio room, Maysa Talerd, 31, has been designing patterns and carefully pressing stickers of famous fictional superheroes and villains onto the face shields, aiming to blend safety and style and expand her new business.

“Normally, a face shield is transparent, so people might get bored. With these fun designs, they’ll encourage people to wear them,” she said.

“At least with the cartoon characters, kids will want to wear them and show off to their friends at school.”

Orders are pouring in for shields with the faces from Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers from Star Wars films to Japanese superhero Mobile Suit Gundam and the heroes, villains and figures of Thai folklore.

Thailand is gradually easing restrictions in an effort to revive its economy, while keeping strict social distancing measures in place to prevent infections.

It has recorded 58 deaths so far and 3,125 confirmed cases - the majority of whom have recovered - and has not reported a local transmission in 17 days.

A few months ago Maysa had no income but is on her way to being financially stable, receiving orders of 50-100 shields at a time, which she sells for 180 baht ($5.77) each.

“I think this might become the main income for me in the future because toy stores are contacting me to do wholesale,” she said.

Reporting by Jiraporn Kuhakan; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan