UK queues up for lifesaving ventilators from China

  • Video report by ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward

The UK has joined an ever-growing queue for lifesaving equipment from China as the response to contain the coronavirus outbreak continues.

With protective suits and masks – which some in the NHS complain are in short supply – and ventilators fast becoming a crucial commodity, the Government has looked abroad to boost supplies.

At Beijing Aeonmed in China, production is already at its limit to fulfil demand from around the globe.

Italy, Russia, Mongolia and Serbia were in the queue ahead of Great Britain for the ventilators saving lives from Covid-19.

Li Kai, of Beijing Aeonmed, said: "Several foreign countries have chartered flights to get our ventilators, but raw materials are becoming a problem, we are struggling to get raw materials from abroad."

Protective suits are made in China to be sent around the world. Credit: ITV News

More than a million protective suits were made at this factory in Beijing last month.

At first the priority was Wuhan, but international deliveries have taken over.

British hospitals could soon be receiving a vital supply through a centrally controlled allocation system.

Sheng Tao of BW Techtextile said: “This time is the first time our company has produced such a huge amount of protective garments, before this… never.”

China has gone from lacking medical equipment on its frontline, to exporting an excess.

It's given a boost to thermometer manufacturer Comper Healthcare and is being read as a sign of confidence the virus battle here has been won.

ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward said such companies, on top of helping to fight a pandemic, are generating some much-needed positive PR for the Chinese government.

CEO Du Han says China rose to the coronavirus challenge.

“From all the news… they think we are kind of dying, especially in Wuhan,” she said.

“But after two months everything is totally under control. We see the results, the Chinese government is doing everything so fast.”

With each box of emergency medical materials China hopes to repackage its image from the country which could have prevented this pandemic to one which provided others with critical supplies.

Equipment is packaged to be taken to other countries. Credit: ITV News

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