Businesses urged join emergency drive to get masks to those who need them_1

Corporate South Africa has been called upon to join an emergency drive to get medical face masks to all those on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic across the country

The drive is being spearheaded by Syntech, a Cape Town-based tech distribution company. Syntech is currently facilitating large-scale bulk imports of essential, high-quality medical gear, starting with masks, to assist the private sector and the health department to get masks to all those that need it most.

“With the announcement of the nation-wide lockdown by President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa is taking the right steps to come together and combat Covid-19. We must still consider that South Africa runs the risk of far worse infection rates than other countries, due to the vulnerability of our population which is burdened with high rates of diabetes, tuberculosis, HIV/Aids, cancer and other illnesses,” said Ryan Martyn, co-founder of Syntech.

“It’s important for the private sector to take the necessary steps to prevent South Africa from following the same infection rate trajectory as Italy. Medical face masks may be a useful tool to help.”

He said the health ministry is on a drive to, among other things, increase the provision of masks to those already infected or those caring for infected individuals to minimise the spread of the virus.

Since infection numbers will keep rising, this drive is more important than ever, he said. Health and other essential services would continue operating during the national lockdown, so medical face masks remain an urgent requirement.

As a preventative measure, many of Syntech’s suppliers in China have reported that their customer-facing employees are wearing masks to slow down the spread of Covid-19 post-lockdown.

“We need to come together as a society right now to stem the infection rate by providing free single use masks to as many health workers and others that need it most, as quickly as possible, over the next few days. Help us, Corporate South Africa,” said Martyn.

“For every minimum order of 2,000 masks that you place for your own people and communities, we will donate an additional 200 masks to the office of the director-general of health for distribution to their frontline staff. If our country’s corporates collectively order a million masks, our first responders will get 100,000 free masks,” he added.

Syntech is currently taking bulk pre-orders for a minimum of 2,000, single-use medical face masks per batch, at only R14 a mask or R28,000 per batch. The same masks are retailing in supermarkets for over R30 a mask.

The masks are single-use, medical face masks that should be used by those already infected or those caring for infected individuals to minimise the chance of transmission. This is because face masks are especially effective at preventing the wearer from spreading droplets that are transmitted when sneezing or coughing. As soon as they are wet or have been removed they should be safely disposed of.

Martyn said healthy individuals should practice social distancing and increased hygiene practices. “It is not necessary to wear a mask if you are healthy unless you are caring for someone with Covid-19.”