Ventilators Sent to New Zealand for Future Covid-19 Outbreak

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Sarah Peddie

Over 100 ICU ventilators have arrived in New Zealand to help with the future response to Covid-19 with 100 more to arrive by the end of the year. 

It is said that the $76 million investment made will aid the healthcare system if there is another outbreak of coronavirus or high ICU admissions. 

The action was taken after reports in April found that New Zealand had a low number of ICU beds per capita with 4.7 beds per 100,000 people. This was compared to the likes of the United States which has 35 beds per 100,000 and Germany which has 29. 

Even though health experts have accepted the purchase of the ventilators, there have been some questions raised as to whether the country has the number of medical staff and ICU bed capacity to use them all.

New Zealand has a very low number of patients currently receiving intensive care and are dependent on ventilators to keep them alive. However, a Ministry of Health spokesperson said that getting more ventilators was to ‘future-proof’ the country and that it was money well spent. 

The country now has 482 ventilators available for hospital use, 178 more are being dispatched from China, Europe and Australia. 

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand had no experience manufacturing ICU ventilators at a large scale. Starting from scratch would take a lot of time and this is why the country is sourcing them from overseas. 

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