Apple is supporting the global effort to combat the spread of coronavirus with a commitment to produce 1m face masks for frontline medical workers in the US every week.
CEO Tim Cook posted a video update on social media on Sunday evening outlining the company’s plans to deliver much-needed equipment after initially sourcing 20m masks via its supply chain.
Cook added that its internal teams across design, engineering, operations and logistics are now working together to manufacture more masks in the coming weeks.
Apple started sending face shields to hospitals in the Santa Clara area of California late last week.
Cook said that the Cupertino-based company was “closely coordinating” with the government and medical professionals to ensure that the masks get to the places where they are most urgently required.
The face “shield” that Apple is making is slightly different from the masks that have been widely used since the outbreak of the virus in March.
The shield can be sent out flat-packed in boxes holding 100 items and then adjusted for each person and assembled in just a few minutes.
Unlike standard face masks, the shield is made from plastic instead of fabric and also covers the entire face as opposed to the nose and mouth, offering better protection for those on the frontline in healthcare.
Cook noted: “This is a truly global effort, and we are working continuously and closely with governments at all levels to ensure these are donated to places of greatest need.”
He said that it was a “labour of love” for Apple and added that the company would divulge more details about its efforts to help medical workers in the future.
The recent work by Apple follows a UK-based initiative involving a consortium of large corporations including Rolls-Royce and Dyson to develop and build medical ventilators.
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