Apple (AAPL) is making plastic face shields to protect frontline medical workers in the US from the spread of the coronavirus.
In a video update on Twitter, chief executive Tim Cook said the company was planning to make and ship 1 million protective masks per week and plans to expand distribution beyond the US.
The first delivery of Apple face shields had already been sent to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara valley in California earlier this week, according to Cook.
Cook said that the initiative was “a company-wide effort, bringing together product designers, engineering, operations and packaging teams, and our suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for health workers.”
Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to COVID-19. We’ve now sourced over 20M masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are also working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers. pic.twitter.com/3xRqNgMThX
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 5, 2020
He said that Apple was sourcing materials and manufacturing in the US and China whilst “closely coordinating with medical professionals and government officials across the US to get these to where they’re needed most urgently.”
The face shields are made from transparent plastic and cover the whole face, not just the nose and mouth. They can be assembled in less than two minutes and are fully adjustable, Cook explained.
The tech giant has also donated over 20 million face masks that it sourced through its supply chain around the world.
Cook said: “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.”
In his Twitter video, Cook urged people to stay home and adhere to guidelines on social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In the UK, a consortium of industrial, tech, and engineering companies including Airbus (AIR.PA), BAE Systems (BA.L), Meggitt (MGGT.L), Ford UK (F), Rolls-Royce (RR.L), several UK-based Formula 1 teams, Siemens Healthineers (SHL.F), and Unilever (UL) have pooled their skills and resources to co-develop medical ventilators for the NHS.