Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaking at a press conference after chairing the Central Disaster Management Committee's High Level Committee Special Meeting on COVID-19 at the ICU Hall of the Perdana Putra today. 

PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet, through the Home Ministry has provided a leeway for face mask manufacturers to bring in more foreign workers.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the move would allow factories to work round-the-clock to produce face masks, due to increasing demands, especially those meant for health practitioners.

Face masks for ordinary consumers and the health sector are seeing high demands following the outbreak of Covid-19.

"Manufacturers had requested this (leeway), saying that they (foreign workers) would be able to work in three shifts daily to address the shortage of face masks, which are normally only used by hospitals. For the public, they are used only mostly during haze.

"The manufacturers would be able to produce more with the additional workers. They were also reminded not to export the masks abroad as they are needed for use here.

"The Home ministry would oversee this as we don't want an influx of foreign workers at the same time," she said after chairing the Disaster Management High Level Committee (HLC) meeting, here, today.

She said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) would also report the latest status of the mask supply for prevention of the coronavirus.

She said monitoring would include supply and price control on the sale of face masks through letters issued to its state and branch offices of KPDNHEP.

This, she said, was to also ensure that the masks were not sold in bulk to consumers.