China exports nearly 18,000 ventilators, more coming
Published: Apr 08, 2020 10:23 PM

A worker makes face masks at a workshop in Luyang District of Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, April 6, 2020. Companies of medical protective equipment in Luyang District of Hefei have kicked into high gear recently to ensure medical supplies. (Xinhua/Zhou Mu)

China's ventilator makers have exported about 18,000 ventilators to help fight against COVID-19 globally, and more are being produced, an official said Wednesday.

"Currently, domestic ventilator manufacturers are working overtime and trying their best to offer help in the fight against the pandemic. Meanwhile, they are carrying out talks with overseas clients about purchasing ventilators," Chen Kelong, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MII), said at a press briefing.

By the end of March, over 100 countries and organizations had asked for medical supplies from China, including protective outfits, thermometers, ventilators and drugs, MIIT spokesperson Huang Libin said at the same conference, noting that related government departments are now working to meet the overseas needs.

According to the MIIT, China's production of key antiviral drugs for fighting COVID-19 resumed in February. By now, the country's daily production capacity of chloroquine phosphate can be applied to 100,000 patients; arbidol, 50,000 patients; and favipiravir, 11,500 patients.

As the largest producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), China has also stepped up supplies of APIs to meet global needs. According to the MIIT, the country's exports of vitamin C increased 10 percent in the first quarter, while exports of paracetamol, which can be used to reduce fever, surged 30 percent.

During the same period, China's exports of hydroxychloroquine have surpassed the amount China exported in 2019, Cao Xuejun, another MIIT official said at the conference, noting that the ministry will strengthen coordination with the WHO, foreign enterprise associations and multinational pharmaceutical companies while solving cross-border shipping problems to guarantee domestic and international market supply.

Chinese companies are working overtime to help fight against COVID-19 globally, but China's capability is limited amid huge global demand and objective factors like protective outfits' standard and usage difference with other countries, Huang said.

China's ventilator production capacity is about 2,200 a week and a shortage of key components impacts the expansion of output, he said.

Global Times