Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Coronavirus: Isle of Wight student makes PPE face masks

Face masks in the kitchen Image copyright Stephen Lee
Image caption Stephen Lee and his family made the masks at their home in Shanklin

A design student is helping key workers during the coronavirus outbreak by producing protective face masks while he self-isolates at his home on the Isle of Wight.

Stephen Lee, 22, has produced more than 300 masks and said he had been "inundated" with requests for them.

His family has appealed for anyone with 3D printers and supplies of acetate to help keep production going.

Mr Lee is in the high-risk category for Covid-19 having had kidney transplants.

He said he was looking for ways of helping the fight against coronavirus safely while he self-isolated at his home in Shanklin for three months and saw reports of shortages of personal protection equipment (PPE).

The masks were produced from a widely-shared design using his own 3D printer.

Another 15 people with 3D printers on the island also responded to an appeal he posted on social media to use their machines for making the masks.

Image copyright Stephen Lee
Image caption Mr Lee said he had been "inundated" with requests

Mr Lee said he was "genuinely shocked and upset" at the messages from people and organisations with low supplies of personal protection equipment.

Those produced so far have gone to care homes, supermarkets, GP surgeries and undertakers. Mr Lee estimates to have enough acetate for another 600 masks.

The family has also set up a crowdfunding appeal to pay for materials and has appealed for volunteers to deliver them.

Posting an appeal on Facebook, his mother Yvonne said it had turned in to a "full time job" for the family.

"There should be no need for a family to produce this product at home and yes there are better 'medically approved products'.

"However there is simply not enough supply of the correct PPE even for those in the direct front line and that is going to get worse in the coming weeks," she added.

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