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Hand-knitted ‘ear savers’ donated to Vietnam’s COVID-19 frontline workers

Monday, August 17, 2020, 17:43 GMT+7
Hand-knitted ‘ear savers’ donated to Vietnam’s COVID-19 frontline workers
Phan Thi Thuong’s knitting group makes wool ear savers at their workshop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on a daily basis. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Observing how wearing a face mask with elastic loops for hours can cause intense irritation behind the ears, a Vietnamese knitting community has come up with the idea of making wool 'ear savers' — an accessory that substitutes for the human ears when put on a face mask — and donate them to frontline health workers.

Since the return of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreaks in Vietnam in late July, thousands of healthcare workers have been struggling with wearing face masks for long hours on a daily basis.

As a result, a number of members in the knitting group of Phan Thi Thuong, a resident of Tan Quy Ward, Tan Phu District in Ho Chi Minh City, brought forth the idea of ear savers to help hold the masks in place without putting any pressure on the wearer’s ears.

The accessory is a narrow wool strip, slightly wider than a finger and about 12 to 15 centimeters in length, with a button at both ends.

With this design, face masks can be worn by hooking up the elastic loops to the strip that goes over the back of one’s head instead of their ears, making wearing a face mask pain-free even after long hours.

Ear savers are made from different types of knitting yarns at Phan Thi Thuong’s workshop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Ear savers are made from different types of knitting yarn at Phan Thi Thuong’s workshop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

According to Thuong, at first her group only intended to donate the products to doctors and frontline health workers on duty in Ho Chi Minh City and in the outbreak epicenter in Da Nang.

However, members of the knitting community in other provinces soon joined the cause. Thuong now serves as a ‘middlewoman’ who receives and distributes finished products to anti-epidemic units across Vietnam.

“Because the products are made by hand, it takes about six to ten minutes to finish each ear saver. Some people who have yet to know how to knit have also expressed interest in joining us,” Thuong said.

“We welcome whatever contribution. Mine and other knitting groups combined can make an average of 1,000 to 2,000 items a day."

Some colorful finished ear savers made by a 67-year-old member of Phan Thi Thuong’s knitting group in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Some colorful ear savers made by a 67-year-old member of Phan Thi Thuong’s knitting group in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Phan Thi Thuong inspects finished ear savers before distribution at her knitting workshop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Phan Thi Thuong inspects ear savers before distribution at her knitting workshop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Phan Thi Thuong’s knitting group makes wool ear savers at their workshop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Phan Thi Thuong’s knitting group makes wool ear savers at their workshop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

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