Demands for medical supplies in Hubei 'have been satisfied'

By Wang Xiaoyu and Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-05 09:34
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A nurse adjusts an Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation machine, or ECMO, used by a critically ill patient in the temporary ICU ward at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on Feb 28, 2020. [Photo by Chen Zhuo/For]

China has met the demand for medical supplies ranging from ventilators and protective suits to testing kits and key drugs in Hubei province, epicenter of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the country's top industry regulator and health authority said on Wednesday.

As viral outbreaks begin overseas, domestic manufacturers of protective suits are also encouraged to export their products to ease the mounting strain facing foreign countries.

Meanwhile, Chinese governments will continue to import advanced machines that cannot be produced domestically, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, to further boost treatment of severe cases, officials have said.

"The overall supply of medical equipment in Hubei has shifted from an acute shortage at the start of the outbreak to meeting demand recently. We are also keeping a close eye on the needs of front-line medical workers to prepare for emergencies," Mao Qun'an, head of the National Health Commission's planning department, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China has taken multiple measures-including ramping up production of key factories and organizing orderly resumption-to secure supplies.

"Streamlined and accelerated channels for shipments and customs clearance have also been set up to ensure that urgently-needed medical equipment can be delivered on time," said Luo Junjie, deputy director of the ministry's industrial equipment department.

As of Tuesday, key manufacturers have produced over 65,000 pieces of medical equipment, including 14,000 noninvasive ventilators, 2,900 invasive ventilators and 15,000 ECG monitors that record electrical signals in patients' hearts, according to Luo.

"The front-line demands of Hubei have been satisfied. All areas in Hubei, including Wuhan, have been equipped with sufficient devices," he added.

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