Companies bidding to make coronavirus ventilators must pass safety tests, Downing Street says

Companies producing ventilators for coronavirus patients must pass regulatory tests before the Government can buy the machines, Downing Street has said.

More than 60 firms, including Formula 1 teams, Dyson, Airbus and others, have all responded to the Government’s call to produce the machines.

The prime minister’s spokesman thanked businesses for their “overwhelming response” in helping build the ventilators.

He added: “Safety of those who need this vital equipment is our absolute priority.

“We are now testing proof of concepts from a number of suppliers in the coming days with the support of expert clinicians and health regulators.

“New orders are all dependent on machines passing regulatory tests; this is the case with Dyson.

“Their machines must meet the necessary safety and regulatory standards – if they do not they will not be brought or rolled out to hospitals.”

The Covid-19 peak is expected to hit the UK in around three weeks and there are concerns hospitals may not have enough in time.

The prime minister’s official spokesman confirmed that 8,000 approved machines have already been ordered.

“We would say we expect thousands of those to arrive in the coming weeks and thousands more in the pipeline to arrive in the coming months,” he told a Westminster briefing.

The NHS currently has around 8,000 ventilators but the Government has said 30,000 will be needed. It is hoped around 10,000 will be ready within two weeks.

Dyson has unveiled its ventilators, but they must first pass testing. Credit: Dyson

Dyson has said it plans to build 15,000 which will be ready to use in the first week of April - 10,000 of which have been ordered by the UK Government.

On Wednesday, a key scientist who has been advising the Government, Professor Neil Ferguson, suggested the majority may be needed sooner than that.

He predicted that intensive care demand would peak “in approximately two to three weeks and then decline thereafter” if the current lockdown measures work as expected.

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