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UK government orders 10,000 ventilators from Dyson

By Lawrence Gash

Downing Street orders devices still waiting on regulatory approval

The UK government has ordered 10,000 ventilators from the manufacturer Dyson for use in treating Covid-19 patients.

Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have reached 9,529 in Britain already, with 465 deaths. To reduce the rate of infection and to ease the pressure on the National Health Service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nationwide lockdown earlier this week, with curbs on individual liberties unprecedented in peace time.

Ventilators have become key pieces of equipment in the fight against the contagious respiratory illness. According to a number of experts, the NHS will require 30,000 of the devices to cope with the peak of the pandemic and reduce as many deaths as possible.

However, the service currently only has access to 8,000 ventilators and by the government’s own admission the extra 8,000 devices it has already sourced could not come into use for months.

The selection of Dyson as an emergency solution has surprised some due to the fact that the company is most famous for making vacuum cleaners and that its ventilator prototype has yet to receive regulatory approval.

Others have welcomed the selection as the Wiltshire-based company is renowned for its technological innovation. Following the announcement, Sir James Dyson recognised the urgency of the task ahead, stating: “The race is on.” The company’s billionaire founder also promised to donate 5,000 CoVent devices to aid relief efforts abroad.

The time pressure and demand for more devices can be further found in The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) asking vets to donate any ventilators at their disposal which can be used by humans as well as animals.

The awarding of government contracts had provoked comments from some observers, as Sir James Dyson is a conservative party donor. However, with more than 3,000 businesses liaising with the government to provide support amid the pandemic, such accusations have been disregarded.

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