PARIS — France and Europe must rely less on China and massively increase local production of masks, ventilators and other “strategic” medical equipment necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to French President Emmanuel Macron.
“This crisis teaches us that on some goods, materials, the strategic character imposes having a European sovereignty, produce more on the national territory to reduce our dependence and equip us over the long run,” Macron said in a statement to the press while visiting the biggest French producer of surgical masks and respirators.
Macron said France would increase its domestic production of masks from 3.3 million masks per week before the pandemic to 15 million per week by the end of April, thanks to additional companies joining the current four mask manufacturers in the country.
He also said that a consortium of four French companies — Air Liquide, Schneider Electric, Valeo and PSA — will aim to produce 10,000 ventilators by mid-May.
“The government is contributing €4 billion to [national agency] Santé Publique France to place orders for medicine, ventilators, and masks,” Macron announced.
Macron has so far urged more European sovereignty on issues like military capabilities and 5G which he qualified as strategic but the push for national industrial capacities in the medical field is unprecedented.
France has been faced with mask and respirator shortages as it relied on supplies from China that were delayed Read More – Source