China on Wednesday said it is ready to help India procure the much-needed ventilators to treat coronavirus patients, but underlined that Chinese firms are finding difficult to scale-up production as they needed imported parts.
A number of countries including the US and India, are trying to procure ventilators needed for hospitals to deal with the demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Chinese ventilator producers say it is not easy for them to ramp up production as they also needed imported components. Official media here reported about India approaching suppliers in several countries, including China, for sourcing more ventilators and other medical protective equipment.
While in the early days, India relaxed ban and permitted some limited exports of medical equipment to China when the virus broke out in January, New Delhi, later sent 15 tonnes medical aid to China in February.
“Whether China help India with the production of ventilators, as we know, the Indian people are also defeating the pandemic under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We stand ready to share our experiences and provide our utmost help,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told media on Wednesday.
“Indeed, the ventilators are in great demand worldwide. China is also facing the pressure of rebound in pandemic,” she said, amid reports of rise of imported coronavirus cases.
“However, for a single ventilator, it involves over 1000 parts produced in different regions and countries including Europe and other parts of the world,” she said.
“So it’s not easy for us to scale up the production at this particular time. It’s very difficult to do so. But Chinese companies are working non-stop in this regards so as to expand their production…In a word, we will do our best to help India,” she said.
State-run Global Times quoted Xu Kemin, an official from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as saying that China has provided over 1,700 invasive ventilators to aid foreign countries since March 19.
Currently, China has 21 enterprises producing invasive ventilators with weekly production capacity is 2,200 units, accounting for about 20 percent of the global production capacity, Xu said.
The Chinese ventilator producers have received orders for 20,000 units and there are plenty of overseas orders being discussed every day, Xu said.
Amid shortage of medical equipment, the central government asked automobile manufacturers to use their facilities to produce ventilators to boost the country’s capacity of such machines in view of rising COVID-19 cases.
The Health ministry said that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will begin manufacturing 20,000 N-95 masks per day within the next week.
The ministry informed that over 14,000 existing ventilators are earmarked for COVID-19 patients in various hospitals in the country while there are 11.95 lakh N-95 masks in stock.
Additional 5 lakh masks were distributed during the last two days and 1.40 lakh were distributed on Monday. “Automobile manufacturers have been asked to manufacture ventilators and they are working towards this end,” the health ministry said in a tweet.