Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan has announced on Twitter that Razer has been converting parts of its existing manufacturing lines to produce surgical masks, and plans to donate up to one million of them to global health authorities in a bid to support frontline health workers in the battle against COVID-19.
Ordinarily, we’d make a joke now about how Razer continues to diversify further away from its gaming roots, but this is a move that can only really be applauded. Citing shortages of surgical masks (a fact confirmed by the British Dental Association, to name one) and the fact that some countries (e.g. Indonesia) have banned their export to other countries, all as a result of the worsening global pandemic, Tan says that despite an increased demand for Razer products as more people stay home, some of Razer’s designers and engineers ‘have been working 24-hour shifts to convert some of our existing manufacturing lines to produce surgical masks so that we can donate them to countries around the world’.
By doing this Razer intends ‘to donate up to 1M masks to the health authorities of different countries globally’. Initial shipments will head to Singapore, home of Razer’s South-East Asia HQ, but Tan assures followers that ‘the rest of our Razer global/regional offices will also be reaching out to their respective governments/health authorities to see how we can prioritize our support and donations of surgical masks in the various countries and regions where we have a presence.’
While the guidance for regular folks like ourselves when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19 tends to revolve around frequent and proper hand washing, not touching your face, and social distancing, the World Health Organisation informs us that surgical masks do have a part to play when it comes to anyone ‘taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV [Coronavirus, COVID-19] infection’, which undoubtedly includes frontline health professionals like doctors and nurses who’ll be tirelessly caring for such patients in the coming months.
While it’s easy to be cynical about announcing moves like this and claim they are only done for PR reasons, try to remember that it’s also possible that someone with the power to make a difference is choosing to do so and wishes to inspire others by announcing it. Reiterating that ‘all of us have a part to play,’ Tan goes onto say that this move is ‘the first step of many that Razer will take’ and that the company is ‘committed to contributing our extra time, resources, effort and talent toward the fight against COVID-19’.
Quite what those next steps will be remains to be seen, but in the last few hours Razer has also announced that it will be temporarily closing its San Francisco, Las Vegas, and London stores in the interests of public health. ‘It is our commitment to provide a safe and healthy retail environment for our staff and guests. We will be monitoring and providing updates when it is safe to reopen our doors.’
May 15 2020 | 11:00