Does China now have enough medical equipment to handle the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly in Hubei province? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. The epidemic has been our focus, and ensuring medical supplies for Hubei province is our top priority. General Secretary Xi Jinping attaches great importance to the prevention and control of the epidemic and has given multiple instructions on strengthening the supply of medical resources. Premier Li Keqiang has also made arrangements on several occasions. Under the direct leadership of Vice Premier Sun Chunlan of the State Council, together with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and relevant authorities of provinces and cities, the material support group has been working around the clock to gather supplies and accurately allocate daily resources to optimize their utilization, doing our best to ensure supplies. With the joint efforts of all involved, we have made progress in the following three aspects concerning provision of supplies in Hubei province. First, we have gone from acute shortage to sufficient supplies, and are now able to meet the demand for protective equipment. Second, concerning important medicine used for treatment, the situation has shifted from hospitals finding ways to purchase it themselves, to the government providing inventory that can be consumed for more than 10 days. Third, the supply of medical treatment equipment has moved from a severe shortage to sufficient provision. At present, designated hospitals in Wuhan and the surrounding area have been equipped with various advanced treatment equipment according to the number of admissions. In addition, there are enough disinfection products to ensure the market supply. These changes can be credited to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the ability to coordinate and mobilize the country, and inter-agency cooperation. The full support of provinces, regions and cities, and key enterprises throughout the country, as well as the selfless dedication of all workers, especially medical staff, have all made great contributions.
The production capacity of medical supplies has jumped since the resumption of production and work and the expansion of productivity. For example, the daily production capacity of protective suits has increased from less than 20,000 to 500,000; N95 masks from 200,000 pieces to 1.6 million; and ordinary masks to as many as 100 million. The production capacities of other necessary commodities and medical treatment equipment have also increased substantially. By March 5, more than 5.3 million protective suits and ten million pieces of N95 face masks had been distributed to Hubei province. So far, categorized in 38 items, a total of 65,000 pieces of medical treatment gear, including, 22,000 respiratory therapy devices, 67 advanced and expensive extracorporeal membrane oxygenators, and 15,000 electrocardiogram monitors, have been sent to the province via different channels. The supplies also include 699 additional negative pressure isolation ambulances.
By giving full play to our manufacturing industry, we have expanded the production capacity of medical supplies within a short period of time to meet the huge growth of demand since the outbreak of the epidemic. Recently, we noted that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on all manufacturers across the world to urgently increase the supplies of medical gear for preventive and protective uses to meet global demand amid the epidemic outbreak. With the situation in China gradually improving, we are willing to support other countries that need medical gear based on our own capacity. Chinese manufacturers involved in the production of medical equipment, protective gear and pharmaceuticals are encouraged to respond to the overseas demands to contribute to the fight against the global pandemic. Thank you.