South Africa has completed the first batch of ventilators which would be used to fight the COVID- 19, said the country’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel during a COVID-19 conference on Friday.
“Today, the first batch of completed ventilators are coming off the assembly line, part of an initial order of 10,000 units which have been engineered by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research,” he said, adding that a second manufacturer is also producing a further few thousand.
South Africa now has the world’s fifth highest infection burden of around 480,000 confirmed cases. It launched a 250 million rand (14.7 million U.S. dollars) project in April to design and produce ventilators in the country.
Twenty thousand units in all will be produced.
Patel pointed out that the shortage of live prolonging ventilators should be a wake-up call to African countries to capacitate their manufacturing base.
“But today as we speak, South African-designed and manufactured ventilators are rolling off the production line. Over the next month, we expect many thousands of non-invasive ventilators to be delivered to hospitals and medical facilities across the country, brought together through South African ingenuity and by South African hands,” he said.