Female prison inmates in Thailand put to work making coronavirus face masks

Female prisoners were put to work today (March 7th) making coronavirus face masks amid a shortage in Thailand.

The inmates at the jail in Trang, southern Thailand, received two days of training before being instructed to produce the white two-layered face masks.

Officers and inmates have been ordered to wear them to help contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 bug, which has infected more than 100,000 globally.

The masks are also handed out to visiting relatives and sold in nearby towns for 10 baht (0.24GBP) amidst a national shortage, which has even seen hospitals run low on masks.

Phakdi Kaewniam, the commander of Trang Provincial Prison, said: ''We're sewing face masks because of a shortage nationally. Everybody must wear them for personal use and we are also selling them outside."

Phakdi said the women can produce 400 masks a day.

''Everybody's working hard to fight the coronavirus,'' he added.

Thailand has 50 recorded cases of the infection, which started last year in Wuhan, China, either at a fresh meat market or at a research laboratory.

The coronavirus has infected more than 100,000 people and killed at least 3,500 around the world.