Britain has ventilator prototypes, looking to start manufacturing - housing minister

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick is seen outside Downing Street, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has received the first prototypes of new ventilators to help the health service handle the coronavirus pandemic, and production of new machines should start soon, housing minister Robert Jenrick said on Sunday.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by offers of support. There’s now a number of manufacturers who are working with us. We’re in receipt of some of the first prototypes, and we expect that manufacturing can start quite quickly,” Jenrick said in an interview with Sky News, adding that around 13,000 ventilators were currently available to Britain’s National Health Service.

“But we do need more, and we’re trying to ramp up production as quickly as we can.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Catherine Evans