On Sunday, Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources as saying that the German government had urged domestic carmakers to consider manufacturing medical gear such as face masks or ventilators to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
“This is a company decision”, one source said, adding that the firms “have to take the decision themselves”.
The source noted that the government’s move is part of its wider efforts “to tap engineering and production resources and tackle severe supply bottlenecks in critical medical equipment” now that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll.
A spokesperson for the German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) AG, in turn, said that the company is already discussing the issue with the authorities and that an international task force has been formed in order to look into various options.
Even though producing medical equipment is a new venture for VW, the carmaker will be ready to begin production as soon as it receives the necessary information, the spokesperson said.
They were echoed by a Daimler AG spokesman who said that the company is also exploring options, in a statement that came after VW and Daimler reportedly agreed to supply more than 300,000 face masks from their existing resources to Germany’s health organisations.
Confirmed Coronavirus Cases on Rise in Germany
On Saturday, the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute reported that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany had increased by 2,705 per day to stand at 16,662. The World Health Organisation currently reports 18,323 such cases in the country.
Experts, in this context, are already discussing the country’s so-called “coronavirus anomaly” which pertains to the fact that COVID-19’s fast spread comes as the confirmed number of deaths – 44 - remains relatively low compared to other European countries, not least the UK. While Britain has just about 2,500 confirmed cases, the country’s coronavirus death toll is 138, much higher than in Germany.