The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has triggered a huge spike in demand for face masks. In places like Hong Kong, supplies of the masks have dwindled, putting people at risk. Prices of the masks have also spiked due to the humongous demand. To resolve the issue, a team of scientists from Hong Kong has come up with a guide on how to make a mask at home.
DIY coronavirus mask
- To make the mask, you will need a kitchen roll, strong tissue paper, plastic file folders, elastic bands, scissors, a hole punch, paper tape, binder clips, plastic-coated steel wire, and a pair of glasses. Before touching any of them, wash your hands thoroughly using soap and sanitize the items.
- Place a piece of kitchen roll on top of another.
- Then, place a piece of tissue paper on top of the kitchen rolls. This acts as the bottom layer of the mask.
- Now, cut the stack of paper in two. Seal off the sides of the mask using paper tape.
- Poke two holes at each of the sides using a punch.
- Attach a metal wire with the paper tape to the top edge of the mask to make the nose bridge wire.
- Take some rubber bands and tie them up through the holes on the sides of the mask.
- For the protective shield, cut the file folder in half and attach each piece on the edge of the glasses using binder clips. To reuse the shield multiple times, make sure to disinfect it every time before use.
The guide for the homemade mask was devised by the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital together with Science Park. According to Joe Fan King-man, the assistant hospital chief executive, the home-made mask was tested and proven to fulfill 80 to 90 percent functionality of regular masks when it came to filtering out droplets and aerosol.
However, he warned that “the home-made masks can only act as an alternative for those who don’t have any gear but need to protect themselves from infection. They can never be a substitute or replacement for surgical masks.” (South China Morning Post). Materials like cotton cloth, air conditioner filter paper, and cling film are not suitable for making masks.
Anger against China
The viral outbreak has strengthened Hong Kong’s anger toward the mainland’s communist regime. Residents in the city are criticizing the administration for its failure to secure adequate medical supplies. A group of employees from public hospitals even went on a strike, demanding that authorities shut down all border crossings Hong Kong shares with the mainland.
“The outbreak comes just when protesters have increasingly turned from mass mobilization to everyday resistance… They condemn the government as failing to protect the public’s wellbeing so they see fit to take it upon themselves to act,” Edmund Cheng, a political scientist at City University of Hong Kong, said to Al Jazeera.
Hong Kong has 56 total confirmed infections of coronavirus. Some 142 suspected cases are being investigated. The city passed a new law that came into effect on February 8 according to which doctors from public hospitals have the right to demand that patients declare their travel history. If a patient provides any false information, they can be charged with a penalty of up to HK$10,000 (US$1,285) or sent to jail for 6 months.