Police Bust Indian Factory for Stuffing Mattresses with Used Masks

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 2: A discarded surgical mask sits on a pile trash in a trash pit at Recology on April 2, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Concerns are growing over discarded COVID-19 related used personal protective equipment (PPE) that is littering streets and waterways since it contains …
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Police in the western Indian state of Maharashtra registered a case, local reports noted on Monday, against the owner of a mattress factory in the city of Jalgaon after the facility was found stuffing mattresses with used sanitary masks.

Jalgaon residents recently alerted local police that a mattress factory in the city was engaging in unsafe practices, prompting officers to investigate the claims.

“When the officials visited the premises of the factory in Kusumba village of MIDC [Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation], they found a mattress being stuffed with used masks,” Additional Superintendent of Police Chandrakant Gawali told India Today on April 12.

“A case was registered against the factory owner, Amjad Ahmed Mansoori. The police are now probing the involvement of others in the racket,” Gawali said.

“Piles of face masks were also recovered from the premises of the mattress factory,” according to India Today. “The used face masks, found lying around the premises, were set on fire as per the prescribed norms.”

Maharashtra state is home to India’s largest city, Mumbai. The Maharashtra government on April 5 ordered the state’s residents to observe restrictions on movement – including a weekday night curfew and a weekend lockdown – to curb the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.

India is battling a surge of new coronavirus cases across the country and Maharashtra state reported the highest number of new infections in recent weeks. Maharashtra recorded 51,751 new cases and 258 deaths from the Chinese coronavirus on April 12.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on April 13 issued a stricter state-wide curfew for Maharashtra for the next 15 days allowing only essential services to function. Thackeray said the state government will impose Section 144 from the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure – which bans the assembly of four or more people – from 8:00 pm on April 14 until 7:00 am on May 1.

“Section 144 … empowers the magistrate of any state or union territory in India to pass an order prohibiting the gathering of four or more people in a specified area. The various provisions of Section 144 make it possible to book all the members of such gathering termed as ‘unlawful assembly’ under the charges of having engaged in rioting,” according to Business Insider India.

Thackeray insisted on Tuesday he was not ordering India’s richest state into full lockdown but admitted Maharashtra’s healthcare system strained under the weight of its surging coronavirus caseload.

“There is a shortage of medical oxygen, beds, and the demand for [the antiviral drug] Remdesivir has also increased,” he said in a video address.

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare banned the export of Remdesivir and its pharmaceutical ingredients on April 11, saying India’s surging coronavirus caseload led to a “sudden spike in demand” for the antiviral drug.

“There is a potential of further increase in this demand in the coming days,” the health ministry said in a statement.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) issued a statement in November 2020 advising against the use of Remdesivir to treat Chinese coronavirus patients. Despite the W.H.O.’s suggestion, several countries, including India, continued to use the antiviral drug to treat patients with symptoms of the Chinese coronavirus.

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