China on Wednesday said its manufacturers were working at full capacity to produce ventilators for Covid-19 patients domestically as well as overseas, including in India, but underlined that it may not be possible to immediately help other countries. The country, where the pandemic originated, said there was great domestic demand for ventilators and it was under pressure to prevent new infections.
However, the country said it was ready to continue supporting India in the fight against the disease to the best of its ability.
“China is now under the pressure of preventing a resurgence at home and we also have a large demand for ventilators,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference on Wednesday. “Chinese manufactures are working at full capacity day and night to produce ventilators and other supplies so that on top of meeting domestic demands, we can provide as many supplies as possible to other countries, including India.”
Covid-19 patients experience acute breathing difficulties and need to be put on ventilators. India has nearly 40,000 working ventilators, the Hindustan Times reported earlier. Experts have said that the number of ventilators may not be enough if the number of cases spikes. India has 1,965 cases of the coronavirus so far, according to the government’s latest update. Fifty people have died of the highly infectious disease caused by the coronavirus.
China – where the coronavirus pandemic originated – has reported more than 80,000 cases and 3,193 deaths. Now, the tolls in countries such as the United States, Italy, Spain and France have surpassed that of China.
China said that it is not easy to simply increase the production of ventilators since it requires importing hundreds of parts from different countries – all of whom are struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic. “We know ventilators are sophisticated equipment of hundreds of parts, suppliers of which include Chinese and foreign ones, including some in Europe,” the spokesperson said. “So it is no easy matter to increase production on a large scale considering the sprawling range of the pandemic. It is also impossible to immediately meet all the demands.”
China said it hopes that countries will work together to ensure that ventilators are available to everyone. “We hope all countries will work together to ensure that the global supply chain is open, stable and secure,” Chunying said. “In short, we stand ready to continue to support and help India to the best of our ability.”
China has provided over 1,700 invasive ventilators to aid foreign countries since March 19, PTI reported quoting local media. Currently, 21 enterprises in China are producing invasive ventilators with weekly production capacity of 2,200 units, accounting for about 20% of the global production capacity.
Besides demand for its medical products, China is dealing with complaints about its substandard products. On Tuesday, China said it had launched a probe into a firm that allegedly sold faulty coronavirus test kits to Spain. The Netherlands had also recalled 6,00,000 defective face masks it had distributed to health workers after getting it from Chinese manufacturers, BBC reported.