1 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: Government secures new ventilators

From Morning Report, 7:08 am on 1 April 2020

New Zealand's desperate hunt for more life-saving ventilators to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic has come up trumps, against the odds.

A doctor who is helping lead the foray into a world market gone mad with demand for the machines says the country has tapped trading partners and used 'wiliness' to pull it off.

Andrew Stapleton says he's 'very relieved'.

New Zealand has low numbers of ventilators per capita - just 533 in public hospitals and about another 250 in private ones - which, together with intensive care units, would be overwhelmed if thousands catch the virus at any one time.

Dr Stapleton, as part of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Covid-19 working group, has been advising the Health Ministry shopping for ventilators.

He spoke to RNZ reporter Phil Pennington last night.