Saturday, June 22, 2024

Shipment of ventilators shows US is a friend, says foreign minister

In times of adversity you learn who your friends are, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday after the government took possession of a shipment of ventilators from the United States.

“The United States is a friend of Mexico, this is the proof,” Ebrard said at an event at Toluca Airport after the arrival of 211 ventilators on a flight from Reno, Nevada.

The purchase of the life-saving medical machines came after United States President Donald Trump made a commitment to sell them to Mexico during a telephone call with President López Obrador last month.

Ebrard said that 189 of the new ventilators will go to the National Institute of Health for Well-Being (Insabi), the government department responsible for Mexico’s new universal healthcare scheme, and 22 will go to the navy.

Insabi chief Juan Ferrer said that the ventilators will be installed in hospitals in cities with high numbers of Covid-19 cases such as Mexico City and Tijuana, Baja California. He said that the ventilators – of which there are four different types made by the company Hamilton Medical – were purchased at preferential prices below market value.

For his part, navy chief Rafael Ojeda said that 12 of the ventilators are designed specifically for use by the military. The Hamilton T1 military ventilators can be installed on ships, helicopters and planes to help keep ill or injured patients alive as they are transferred to hospitals.

Ebrard said that more ventilators will be brought to Mexico from the United States later this month. At least six flights will bring about 610 of the machines, he said, adding that more shipments could arrive in June.

López Obrador said on April 19 that President Xi Jinping of China and Trump had agreed to sell Mexico 1,270 and 1,000 ventilators, respectively. Ebrard said earlier the same month that Mexico would buy US $56.6 million worth of medical supplies from China to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ninth of 20 planned flights carrying supplies from Shanghai touched down at the Mexico City airport last night.

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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