A few dozen Estonian companies have the capability to produce personal protective equipment either now or in the near future, according to Enterprise Estonia.
At the request of the Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu, Enterprise Estonia has mapped Estonian companies with the capability to produce disinfectants and personal protective equipment, the institution's communication specialist Egert Puhm told ERR.
Personal protective equipment includes various protective masks, gloves, goggles, face-shields, overalls, safety footwear etc.
"We know of a few dozen companies that could produce those either today or in the near future. Specific amounts and readiness is currently being mapped out. New companies are continually being added to the list with many having actively approached us and offered us their production," Puhm added.
A positive example is respirator manufacturer Esfil Tehno AS, located in the eastern Estonian town of Sillamäe, which has been able to significantly increase its production capacity. The company was previously able to produce around 500 masks in a day along with other products. Now the company produces around 6,000 protective masks daily with further capacity to produce around 10,000.
Chemi-Pharm, an Estonian company located near Tallinn, has significantly increased its capacity of manufacturing disinfectant to guarantee availability for hospitals and medical institutions.
Head of the European Commission Representation in Estonia Keit Kasemets told ERR that personal protective equipment is mainly manufactured in China because Chinese producers can offer low price with large volumes and as EU manufacturers cannot compete on price they have concentrated on more complex products.
"Of course personal protective equipment and other necessary equipment for medical use is being produced in EU countries, such as Germany, France, Italy and Poland, but demand currently goes well beyond the current supply. EU manufacturers often use components or materials manufactured in China," he added.
According to Kasemets, the European Commission is working together with the member states to increase the production volume.
Editor: Anders Nõmm