Taiwan villagers turn bras into face masks to prevent swine flu
Apr 28, 2009, 13:56 GMT
Taipei - Women in a southern Taiwan village are turning bras into face masks amid a shortage of the masks in shops after a swine-flu alert was declared, a news reports said Tuesday.
Many women in Houbi in Tainan County are sitting before sewing machines to churn out colorful face masks made by cutting a bra in two and sewing elastic bands on each cup, the ERA cable television channel said.
Taiwan, which has yet to report a case of swine flu, issued an alert against the virus Sunday, setting off frantic buying of face masks.
'Face masks made from bras are cheaper, more comfortable and more airy,' Lee Hsiu-tao, a Houbi resident, told ERA TV.
However, doctors warned that such masks are ineffective in preventing epidemics because they do not filter out germs.
Houbi also made international headlines during the 2003 outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, when a local factory converted bras into face masks amid another shortage of face masks on the market. That year, Taiwan reported 73 SARS deaths out of 346 cases.