Britain now has access to 12,000 ventilators - health minister

Britain's Secretary of State of Health Matt Hancock arrives for a meeting to address the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak, at Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain now has access to 12,000 ventilators after it bought more from existing providers and its manufacturers are stepping up further production, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Monday.

"We've made serious progress on that, there's now over 12,000 that we've managed to get to," he told BBC Radio. "We started with 5,000 so we've been buying ventilators and we've also been engaged with companies who are going to turn their production over to ventilators."

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)