China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a briefing that what China ‘urgently’ needs at present are ‘medical masks, protective suits, and safety goggles’
With the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rising, China on February 3 said it ‘urgently needs’ protective medical equipment.
Over 17,000 people have been reportedly infected by the virus in China.
Fears of the virus have spurred people in the densely-populated country of 1.4 billion to stock up on single-use surgical masks, while frontline medical personnel at the centre of the outbreak have reported equipment shortages.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a briefing that what China ‘urgently’ needs at present are ‘medical masks, protective suits, and safety goggles’.
At full capacity, China’s factories are only able to produce around 20 million masks a day, according to the ministry of industry.
While the country’s foreign affairs ministry said countries including South Korea, Japan, Kazakhsthan and Hungary have already donated supplies, its industry minister Tian Yulong said authorities were taking steps to bring in masks from Europe, Japan and the US.
Yulong said supply and demand in China remained in ‘tight equilibrium’ as factories returned to production after the Lunar New Year lull. He said they were now operating at ‘between 60 and 70 percent capacity’.
In addition to Hubei, the province of more than 50 million people at the centre of the outbreak, several other provinces and cities across China have made it compulsory to wear masks in public as virus fears have grown.
The death toll from the coronavirus soared past 360 on February 3, exceeding the 349 mainland fatalities from the 2002-03 SARS outbreak, although SARS killed a higher percentage of people infected.
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First Published on Feb 3, 2020 04:07 pm