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DTI expects local production of ventilators to start soon

The ventilator project is one government's interventions aimed at meeting the health system's needs and opening up new economic opportunities.

Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that it was finished with the process of prototyping ventilators and expected production to begin soon.

The ventilator project is one government's interventions aimed at meeting the health system's needs and opening up new economic opportunities.

The idea is to produce ventilators in South Africa on time to meet peak demand and to supply the export market.

DTI officials gave an update to the parliamentary portfolio committee on Friday morning.

“Globally, countries were running out of ventilators and we needed to ensure that we have the assisted breathing apparatus and the ventilators, we needed to move early to ensure that we develop locally produced products.”

Meanwhile, the availability of ventilators and intensive care unit (ICU) space is top of mind for health authorities as models predict peak infections to hit anywhere between early July and mid-August.

In the Western Cape, around 850 ICU beds in the private and public sector will be available for COVID-19 patients, but Premier Alan Winde has repeatedly said there won't be enough ICU beds at the peak.

He and his provincial head of health, Keith Cloete, said it was important to look at hospital capacity holistically.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.