The British government has declined an offer by the EU to jointly purchase respiratory equipment to save money and resources in the fight against the corona virus. According to Downing Street 10, the UK is “no longer a member” of the EU and “we will do it ourselves”. Critics note that Johnson considers Brexit more important than public health.
Johnson insists on having respirators made by British manufacturers who have never done that before. He has ordered 10,000 appliances from vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson, founded by the Brexit advocate of the same name. The company has designed an entirely new model. When they are ready is not clear. A government spokesman vowed that the devices will only be paid for if they are medically approved.
British hospitals now have 8,000 devices at their disposal. The Prime Minister’s refusal is also notable because he recently advocated international cooperation in the fight against the virus that has now infected more than half a million inhabitants of the planet. The opposition wants the UK to participate in the European operation to ensure equipment if its own producer delivers too slowly. Liberal’s Layla Moran said it was unimaginable that the Prime Minister would not take every opportunity to make life-saving equipment available. She is baffled that ideology still prevails in this emergency.
The Guardian reports that several ventilator manufacturers say the government has not responded to their offer to increase production. One of them had offered more than 5000 pieces, but the government was not interested. He then offered them elsewhere. At Newsnight, a medical device manufacturer claimed that the government should have spent the money on existing manufacturers.
Meanwhile, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has strongly criticized the member states. According to her, they do not cooperate enough to combat the crisis. For example, countries have stopped supplies of equipment at the border, VRT writes:
Von der Leyen also listed a series of measures that the European Commission has taken in the meantime, such as the release of EUR 37 billion to support European economies, the construction of a central European stock of medical equipment, the call for the construction of fast lanes borders for the transport of medical equipment and the activation of a clause in the European Stability and Growth Pact. In this way, the European Commission authorizes the Member States to make every effort to provide financial support to businesses and citizens affected by the crisis. “It is the first time in European history that we have done this.”