TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese Minister of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Shen Jong-Chin (沈榮津) said Wednesday (April 29) that the government is planning to invest NT$50 million (US$1.68 million) in developing 100 ventilator prototypes for patients in critical condition.
During a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan, Shen said the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shined a light on the scarcity of indigenously produced ventilators in the island country. Although Taiwan has set up several production lines for surgical masks, it has yet to be able to produce its own emergency ventilators.
Shen said the ventilators Taiwan currently possesses are mainly for treating patients with sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. He pointed out that most of the ventilators used on Taiwan's intensive care patients, including those infected with COVID-19, have been purchased from overseas, which is why the government needs its own.
The economic minister explained that the government has enough invasive ventilators right now to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and that the development of prototypes is only a precautionary measure suggested by medical experts. He said the MOEA has acquired all necessary documents to launch the project and that local ventilator companies have agreed to build 100 prototypes and test them before mass production, reported CNA.
Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-Chin. (CNA photo)