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Electronics maker Sharp to make masks at display plant

Electronics panels are made in what are called “germ-free” plants, making it a good place for mask-making.

TOKYO, Japan — Electronics maker Sharp Corp. will start making surgical masks, which are in high demand because of the virus outbreak, using a plant in central Japan that usually makes displays.

Sharp, owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as FoxConn, of Taiwan, said Monday production starts at its Mie Prefecture plant by the end of this month. It will start at 150,000 masks a day and that will rise to 500,000 a day.

Electronics panels are made in what are called “germ-free” plants, making it a good place for mask-making.  

Masks have been hard to find on store shelves, especially Japan.

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U.S. health officials, including the U.S. Surgeon General, have urged Americans to stop hoarding masks. There is concern that there will not be enough for medical professionals who must try to avoid getting sick as well as to help them avoid passing the sickness onto patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it does not recommend using face masks as a way to avoid contracting COVID-19, but it does say masks can help those infected from spreading the virus to others.