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Italy's crafts people step in fight against coronavirus

Volunteers sew special masks for frontline workers as shortages hit home

Giada Zampano   | 10.04.2020
Italy's crafts people step in fight against coronavirus

ROME

Skilled craftspeople in Italy have stepped in to fill in the shortage of protective masks in the country amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Volunteers of the School of Italian Amanuenses are making 500 masks a day for frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, which has claimed 18,000 lives.

Starting from the end of March, they are using special material provided by the paper mill of Cordenons.

This special paper, thanks to a triple layer, can ensure the same protection of a surgical mask, they say. 

The association, with its origins in the small town of San Daniele in the northern Friuli region, focuses on ancient handwriting, writing courses and other cultural initiatives. 

“Amid the emergency we have reconverted our activities and our associates have immediately accepted my idea to produce masks, which are much needed,” said president and founder Roberto Giurano.

“For now, we have reached a production of 500 masks a day to help those who are battling the contagion, and we’ve been distributing them to nursing homes, hospitals and nearby neighborhoods.” 

The amanuenses work from home with their sewing machines and hope to reach a production of up to 1,000 masks a day. Giurano added that since the technique used to realize the masks is very simple -- and just needs a sewing machine and the right material -- they are preparing an online tutorial that would allow other volunteers in the rest of Italy to produce the masks, also for isolated communities. 


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