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Employees at a Tunisian factory are churning out 50,000 face masks a day and other protective medical gear after opting to go into lockdown at work. The 150 workers, mainly women, have isolated themselves at the Consomed factory for a month. The factory usually exports its protective gear, but its focus now is to produce enough for the health sector at home.

The North African nation, which went into lockdown on Sunday, has 227 confirmed cases of coronavirus and six patients have died in the last week. Among those who moved into the factory, which is in a rural area south of the capital, Tunis, a week ago are cooks, a doctor and a pharmacist.

There are separate dormitories for 110 women and 40 men, recreational activities including video chats with families – and enough stocks to last a month. The staff felt the need to isolate at the factory because if the virus spread within the workforce, they would not be able to keep up with the needs of doctors in the country. The factory runs from 06:30 to 22:30 local time every day on two eight-hour shifts, with the men mainly on the latter one.

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