Coronavirus: Britain asks manufacturers for more ventilators as COVID-19 spreads

Britain told manufacturers to ramp up the country’s production of ventilators and ordered private hospitals to prepare for an overspill of patients from the public health service as the death toll from coronavirus grew on Saturday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been criticized for so far not following more draconian steps taken by other European countries, was preparing to ban mass gatherings from next week, a government source said.

Health authorities in England announced a further 10 coronavirus deaths, almost doubling since Friday although the toll remains lower than in Italy, Spain and France.

“Ministers are working with the chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer on our plan to stop various types of public events, including mass gatherings, beginning next week,” the government source said.

Johnson’s office said later on Saturday that he was due to speak to manufacturers on Monday about supporting the production of essential medical kit.

Engineers had been asked to find ways to quickly produce more ventilators in Britain which the government would buy.

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