The government has ordered 10,000 ventilators from UK technology company Dyson in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The firm, headed by British inventor James Dyson, said it had designed a new type of ventilator on behalf of the NHS. The ventilators being made at the company’s UK base in Wiltshire are being built at scale in aircraft hangars that were used to stuff parachutes in World War Two.

However, it is thought that even if regulatory approval is quick, it could still take a couple of weeks to move the ventilators to the front line of the NHS.

Though the order is still subject to the devices passing stringent medical tests, these tests are expected to happen soon.

Currently, the NHS has just over 8,000 ventilators; the government plans to procure a further 8,000 from both domestic and international suppliers. However, it estimates that the NHS will need at least 30,000 to deal with the potential numbers of virus victims.

Car manufacturers such as Rolls-Royce and the construction equipment firm JCB are among other manufacturers said to have already been contacted by the government to build ventilators and other essential technologies to tackle the virus.

JCB’s chairman, Lord Bamford, said: “We have been approached by the prime minister to see if we can help with the production of ventilators. We have research and engineering teams actively looking at the request at the moment. As a British company we will do whatever we can to help during the unprecedented times our country is facing.”

Last week, a spokesperson for Downing Street, said: “We need to step up production of vital equipment such as ventilators so that we can all help the most vulnerable, and we need businesses to come to us and help in this national effort.”

Date published: March 26, 2020

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