The Netherlands only requested respirators from Philips two weeks ago. That's what Philips CEO Frans van Houten said on talk show Op1 on Sunday evening. According to Van Houten, the world did not look at China well enough before the coronavirus started to spread to other countries.

The chief did not want to say whether the order was late. "I don't think the whole world has looked at China sharp enough. It was thought it would be okay," he says.

According to Van Houten, a lot of respiratory equipment was delivered in China in January and February. Italy then ordered many devices when the COVID-19 virus broke out there in February. "And then the stock ran out," explains Van Houten.

1,000 respirators ordered

On Saturday, Philips delivered one hundred of a thousand ordered respirators to the Netherlands. How fast the rest of the order comes depends on how fast the company can produce. "That gives you sleepless nights," says Van Houten.

That is why Philips scaled up production. "Normally it would take us a year. Now we try to do it in weeks," said the CEO.

Philips announced last week that the company will manufacture additional medical equipment due to the corona crisis. Ventilation equipment is necessary in the Netherlands to expand the number of beds in intensive care (IC). Thanks to the delivery, the IC capacity can be increased.

There are currently approximately 985 corona patients in intensive care in the Netherlands. As of April 1, there are 1,600 beds on the IC.


The Netherlands only rang the bell at Philips for respirators two weeks ago, says Philips CEO Frans van Houten in # Op1. "The whole world has not looked at China sharply enough."

Avatar Avatar Author op1npoMoment of places21: 14 - 29 March 2020

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The coronavirus in short

  • The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person via sneezing and cough drops. The chance of becoming infected through surfaces such as door handles is small. This chance decreases if you wash your hands often.
  • You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from others.
  • An infected person infects two to three others on average. Precautions are necessary to contain this.
  • The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
  • Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
  • Read here what precautions you should take.