UK asks Ford and Rolls Royce to make ventilators to fight coronavirus

Rolls Royce

The UK has asked automakers including Ford Motor, Honda and Rolls Royce to help make health equipment such as ventilators to fight the coronavirus outbreak and will look at using hotels as hospitals.

Britain, which has reported 55 coronavirus deaths and 1,543 cases, on Monday declared it was boosting its efforts to fight against the coronavirus outbreak, closing social life and ordering the most vulnerable to isolate themselves for 3 months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson talked with more than 60 manufacturing businesses and organizations to ask them to help with the production of “vital medical equipment” including ventilators for the National Health Service, a spokeswoman for his Downing Street office stated.

“The Prime Minister made clear that responding to coronavirus and decreasing the spread of the peak requires a national effort,” the spokeswoman stated.

“He asked manufacturers to take up this immediate challenge by offering skills and expertise along with manufacturing the components themselves. Businesses can get involved in any part of the process: design, procurement, assembly, testing, and shipping.”

Hotels are going to be used as emergency hospitals, retired doctors are being asked to return to work and some elective surgery is being canceled.

Many countries are attempting to purchase ventilators, used to keep people with coronavirus alive if they are having a hard time to breathe.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated there had been an enthusiastic response to the demand for ventilator production.

“We will buy as many ventilators as are made,” he later informed parliament. “It is not a question of putting a target on it, we are just going after as many as we possibly can.”

It was, however, not immediately clear how a producer of jet engines or cars could turn to producing specialist medical equipment, which international components would be required and what certification..

One option could be to adopt defense industry regulations which can be used to order particular factories to follow a design to produce a needful product quickly. British industry has the ability to do that but is not likely to make the electronic components that would also be needed.

Rolls Royce, a British engineering company which makes the jet engines for the biggest Boeing and Airbus planes, stated it was ready to assist in any way it could.

Honda, which constructed just under 110,000 cars at its facility located in Swindon in England last year, stated it had been asked by the government to check the feasibility of making more ventilators.

Ford operates two engine factories in Britain, which built just under 1.1 million engines in the last year. A spokesman stated it was reviewing the situation. One of the two sites, in Bridgend in Wales, is due to shut down this year.

Peugeot-owned Vauxhall has also been asked by the government for help.

With a steep rise in cases expected, Hancock stated on Sunday many hotels were empty and could provided ready-built centers for looking after people, but an oxygen supply and ventilation equipment would be required.

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