Italy to make prisoners produce face masks

Inmates in prisons in Milan, Rome and Salerno will start making face masks from mid-April.
Inmates in prisons in Milan, Rome and Salerno will start making face masks from mid-April.

Inmates in three Italian prisons will start producing face masks to be used as a protection against the coronavirus epidemic, the Italian Justice Ministry says.

Eight machines with daily output capacity of 400,000 masks will be installed starting from mid-April in three jails in Milan, Rome and Salerno, a statement said.

The masks will be distributed first among the prison population and prison guards, but an expected "considerable surplus" will be given to frontline medical staff in hospitals.

Face masks are in short supply in Italy, and early in the country's epidemic there were violent riots in prisons sparked by inmates' fears about contagion risks.

Australian Associated Press