US urges construction firms to donate face masks to hospitals

President Trump has urged construction firms to donate their spare face masks to medical professionals to make up for a shortage of surgical masks in American hospitals.

Speaking in a White House briefing with nurses, Trump said 500 million face masks had been ordered to boost private production, and that "American manufacturers are repurposing factories" to make new ones.

Mike Pence, US vice president, gave another White House briefing, in which he said: "We would make one specific request, and that is: we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks."

He added that construction masks were "perfectly acceptable for healthcare workers to be protected from a respiratory disease".

Image: An N95 mask commonly used on American construction sites (Dontree/Dreamstime)

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