China said Monday it “urgently needs” protective medical equipment as the death toll in the country from a highly contagious coronavirus passed that of the 2002 SARS crisis, with more than 17,000 infected.
“What China urgently needs at present are medical masks, protective suits, and safety goggles,” the foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press briefing.
At full capacity, China’s factories are only able to produce around 20 million masks a day, according to the ministry of industry.
The foreign ministry said countries including South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Hungary have donated medical supplies.
Tian Yulong of the industry ministry said were taking steps to bring in masks from Europe, Japan and the US, adding that supply and demand in China remained in “tight equilibrium” as factories returned to production after the Lunar New Year lull.