UAE company to set up $1m production facility to help combat COVID-19

IBC Group’s chairman has urged businesses to “set aside the profit motive and collaborate with each other”, as the WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In the GCC, Qatar currently has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date.
By Ahmed El Sherif
11:46 AM

Photo by De An Sun via Unsplash

A UAE-based group has confirmed it is investing $1 million in a production facility for face masks and medical kits, with operations expected to begin within the next 40-60 days.

A spokesperson for boutique real estate and tech investment firm IBC Group confirmed to Zawya that its affiliate, Regal Global Trading, will be managing production. An estimated 300,000 to 600,000 face masks will be manufactured daily, the bulk of which will be sent to China.

“We are setting up a factory in the UAE; we plan to increase our capacity to 300,000 and double it every month moving forward, depending on the severity and spread of the epidemic,” said IBC Group chairman, Khurram Shroff.

While the exact location of the facility is yet to be finalised, it is said it will either be in Dubai’s Al Quoz industrial area, or Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ).

WHY IT MATTERS

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic, stating it had “never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus”.

At the time of publishing, the WHO has confirmed a total of 132,567 cases globally, with China (80,981 cases), Italy (15,113) and Iran (10,075) being the top three countries affected.

In the GCC and wider MENA region, Qatar leads the number of confirmed cases at 262, followed by Bahrain (195), the United Arab Emirates (85), Kuwait (80), Iraq (70), and Egypt (67).

THE LARGER CONTEXT

IBC Group is not the first company from the UAE to dedicate new business towards combatting COVID-19. Last month it was reported that Abu Dhabi’s Group 42 (G42) has been utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing technology to ensure medical supplies reach the areas where they are most needed, and in turn prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

It also launched its Population Genome Program, to help provide rapid genotyping to help facilitate the sharing of data between researchers.

Earlier this week, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pledged $10 million in financial support to the WHO, while suspending travel to and from nine more countries for both its citizens and residents, including Bahrain, Kuwait, and the UAE.

On Friday, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai launched a AED 1.5 billion economic stimulus package to protect citizens and businesses from exceptional circumstances brought by the novel coronavirus.

ON THE RECORD

Speaking on the need to work together, IBC Group’s Shroff stated: “We encourage all businesses that have the capacity to address this emerging need to set aside the profit motive and collaborate with each other. All our efforts are needed to protect ourselves within the UAE, and also in order that we can play a meaningful role in addressing the global demand for protective gear and medical kits.”

More regional news

(Top row: left to right) Dr Charles Alessi, HIMSS, Dr Peter Gocke, Charité in Berlin (Germany)

(Bottom row: left-right) Dr Afzal Chaudhry, Cambridge University Hospitals (UK), Dr Jan Kimpen, Philips (Netherlands)

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