March 16, 2020 / 9:20 AM / 23 days ago

Make us ventilators to fight coronavirus, UK government asks manufacturers

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask manufacturers to retool production to start making specialist health equipment including ventilators and will look at using hotels as emergency hospitals to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

Britain has taken a distinctly different approach to tackling coronavirus from European countries such as Italy, Spain and France which have imposed stringent lockdowns to try to slow the spread of the disease.

“The prime minister will speak to British manufacturers including Unipart Group to ask them to support production of essential medical equipment for the NHS,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

“He will stress the vital role of Britain’s manufacturers in preparing the country for a significant spread of coronavirus and call on them to step up and support the nationwide effort to fight the virus.”

Unipart Group declined further comment. Johnson is due to give a news conference later on Monday.

“We’ve got high quality engineering in this country and we want anybody who has the manufacturing capability to turn to a manufacturer of ventilators to do that,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by Michael Holden)

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