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Vingroup, Bkav Pivot to Producing Ventilators to Help Curb Coronavirus

Amid the ongoing coronavrius pandemic, several Vietnamese manufacturing companies have shifted to producing medical equipment.

Tuoi Tre reports on a raincoat factory in Hanoi's Dong Anh District which has begun producing face masks that are given away for free. Le Thi Tham, the facility's owner, spent VND200 million on the equipment needed to make the masks, as well as material and other items.

"I feel very happy that my factory can help our society and the people around me," she told the newspaper.

The masks were approved by the Quality Assurance and Testing Center before going into production, while 22 employees now make 3,000 masks daily. The factory has also received help from the local Women's Union, whose members volunteer to sterilize the masks and package them once completed.

Vingroup, Vietnam's largest private corporation, has also joined the fight against the coronavirus by partnering with Medtronic, a major American medical equipment manufacturer.

Reuters reports that Vingroup has licensed the PB560 ventilator design, and will use its automobile and smartphone factories in northern Vietnam to produce 10,000 of these ventilators per month.

The first unit is expected to be completed in early May, after which Vingroup will need to receive certification from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology to begin mass production. The conglomerate will make an additional 40,000 low-cost ventilators each month based on open-source designs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

And Bkav, the tech company well-known for its antivirus software and Bphone smartphone models, is also getting into ventilator production. VnExpress reports that the company will use designs and software code made available by Medtronic in an effort to assist in ventilator manufacturing worldwide.

Bkav plans to produce its first invasive ventilator based on these designs next month, while 9,000 employees at four factories are being prepared to work on these products.

"By mid-May, we will complete making the first ventilator model so that we can apply for a mass production license from the Ministry of Health," Bkav CEO Nguyen Tu Quang said in a Facebook post.

[Photo via Bao Van Hoa]

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