The iShield: Apple to design and make medical gear

A medical student checks a handmade face shield before delivering them to doctors and nurses in Yangon, Myanmar.Image copyright Getty Images

Best-known for phones and computers, Apple has now turned its hand to making face shields for medical workers.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook tweeted on Sunday that it has designed and is now making the protective gear.

The tech giant plans to make more than one million shields a week, which will be shipped first to US medical workers and then distributed globally.

It has also sourced 20 million face masks which it is donating worldwide to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Companies, from electronics firms to carmakers, have been shifting production to help make vital medical equipment and supplies for hospitals around the world.

“This is a truly global effort, and we’re working continuously and closely with governments at all levels to ensure these are donated to places of greatest need,” Mr Cook said in a video posted on Twitter.

Apple has pulled in designers, engineers and suppliers to shape, produce and ship the face shields.

Mr Cook said the first shipment of the plastic face shields, which can be assembled in less than two minutes, was delivered last week to some hospitals in Silicon Valley. The materials are sourced from both the US and China.

“In both these efforts, out focus is on unique ways Apple can help, meeting essential needs of caregivers urgently and at a scale the circumstances require,” Mr Cook added. “For Apple, this is a labour of love and gratitude, and we will share more of our efforts over time.”

With a worldwide shortage of hospital equipment such as ventilators and protective gear for medical workers, organisations, educational institutions and individuals have been joining the effort to meet the demand.

In the UK, around 1,400 3D-printer owners have pledged to use their machines to help make face masks for the NHS.

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