Australian army soldiers help face mask factory keep up with unprecedented demand

Selfless Australian soldiers are now helping to battle the coronavirus by working the production line at the country’s only face mask factory.

The Med-Con factory in Shepparton, a regional area of northern Victoria, is facing an unprecedented demand to make face masks and hospital gowns during the crisis.

Hospitals are now coming under increasing strain, as the number of confirmed cases in Australia hit 814, with seven people now dead.

The factory’s usual workers have now been joined by 20 members of the Australian Defence Force, most of whom are highly-trained engineers.

But for the next few weeks, they will be on the front line of Australia’s fightback against the virus, helping on the firm’s production line.

The company had been struggling in the face of cheap foreign imports, but now hopes to hire a huge local workforce to keep up with demand.

General manager Steve Csiszar told Sunrise: ‘Every product that we make is part of this fight against the coronavirus.

‘It’s a small, Australian manufacturer. And particularly being regional based, we’ve been under the pump.

‘But this is wartime, this is a war. It’s a war on the virus, and the virus has a war on us.’

The army were drafted in to meet the overwhelming demand after the company received a huge government contract.

‘It’s been pretty good, all the staff here are really friendly, easy to get along with,’ said one soldier.

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