Udayavni Special

China says ready to help India procure ventilators, but scaling up production a challenge

Team Udayavani, Apr 1, 2020, 8:29 PM IST

Beijing: 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 it difficult to scale up production as they needed imported parts.

A number of countries, including the United States and India, are trying to procure ventilators 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 in Beijing 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,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying 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 1,000 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% 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. Besides demand for its medical products, China is grappling with complaints about its substandard products.

On Tuesday, China said it launched probe against a Chinese firm which allegedly sold faulty coronavirus test kits to Spain amid similar complaints from the Netherlands and Turkey over defective COVID-19 equipment.

China has launched a probe into a Chinese Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology, which sold a batch of coronavirus test kits to Spain which authorities said were faulty.

Last week, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said the first batch of 50,000 testing kits failed to pass quality control checks after several microbiology laboratories in the country’s major hospitals found that they were not working well.

As China mounted a nationwide effort to produce desperately needed medical supplies after its own coronavirus cases abated, concerns over the quality of some Chinese-made equipment were on the raise.

On Monday, the Financial Times reported countries are “rejecting” Chinese-made pandemic-fighting supplies, citing issues raised by the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey over certain products exported by China, including face masks and testing kits.

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