Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said on February 8, that the demand for medical supplies is 100 times the normal level. He also added that prices for these essentials are about 20 times higher than before the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Despite the multinational efforts, and considerable private sector contributions, supplies are still sorely needed to best diagnose and treat patients. As a result, some non-traditional manufacturers of medical supplies including masks, plastic gloves and disinfectant have joined the effort. For example, Sinopec, one of China’s biggest players in medicine and health, began producing masks to satisfy the desperate demand from the coronavirus epicenter.
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has started producing masks, and estimates a maximum out of 2 million units per day by the end of this month. SAIC-GM-Wuling, an automotive joint venture, initiated the production of both N95 masks and medical protective masks, with a total of 14 production lines and an estimated volume of over 1.7 million units per day. These manufacturers have leveraged their considerable output potential in a time of national crisis, to aid the containment and treatment of the coronavirus.
Another automotive manufacturer, BYD, announced the production of masks and disinfectants with estimated maximum output at over 5 million units per day.