22 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Reusable masks to add extra layer of protection for workers

1:42 pm on 22 April 2020

New Zealand researchers have designed a reusable face shield for medical staff to wear while treating Covid-19 positive patients.

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Photo: Supplied / ABI

Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) and MedTech Core researchers created the face shield, which consists of a plastic frame and a transparent plastic sheet. Both parts can be disinfected and reused.

The shields are designed to be worn over a surgical face mask to provide another layer of protection.

Dr Paul Roberts, a technical development engineer at ABI, developed the face shield and says it was not a "perfect solution" but it was an effective response to an evolving and fast-evolving situation.

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"These could also be used by people in a range of contexts, such as ambulance workers, GPs, and police," he says.

So far, 20,000 shields have been made since production began on 14 April at food packaging production factories in Lower Hutt and Auckland, with the capacity to produce 50,000 shields per week.

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