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Trump invokes Defense Production Act to force GM to produce ventilators

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

US President Donald Trump on Friday invoked wartime Defense Production Act to force auto giant General Motors to manufacture ventilators, amid a supply shortage of the life-saving medical equipment in view of the mounting coronavirus cases.

Price negotiations with the car company was taking time, Trump said.

Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors (GM) to accept, perform, and prioritize federal contracts for ventilators.

"Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course," Trump said.

"GM was wasting time. Today's action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives," Trump said.

On Thursday, Trump told reporters at the White House that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has shipped 6,000 ventilators to the states.

Thousands of ventilators are being required in the treatment of coronavirus patients, the number of which has surged from just 8,000 about 10 days ago to nearly one lakh. It has also resulted in deaths of nearly 1,500 Americans and about 2,500 COVID-19 patients are in critical condition.

Vice President Mike Pence said the White House is working with a number of suppliers to manufacture ventilators, even while they work with state leaders to assess "not just what ventilators are available in their state hospitals, but what ventilators are available in private hospitals across their state".

"Governors across the country are doing great work evaluating the full supply of tens of thousands of ventilators that are available," Pence said.

New York, which is the hotspot of coronavirus in the US, needs around 40,000 ventilators as early as possible. New York has more than 45,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and there has been 519 deaths due to the pandemic.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sat, March 28 2020. 02:30 IST