Speaking at his daily White House briefing, President Trump said: ‘The UK called today and they wanted to know would it be possible to get 200 and we’re going to work it out, we’ve got to work it out.
‘They’ve been great partners. United Kingdom. And we’re gonna work it out for them. So they wanted 200, they needed them desperately.’
While Whitehall has indeed been scrambling to order thousands of the machines, Trump has engaged in public spats with his governors who have complained about ventilators being held in a federal stockpile.
But Trump said on Tuesday he was going to have 110,000 delivered in the coming weeks while adding, ‘I don’t think we’ll need them.’
Earlier today, Downing Street thanked Mr Trump for his offer of an experimental coronavirus treatment for Boris Johnson, who remains in intensive care with persistent coronavirus symptoms.
Yesterday, the president had sent his best wishes to the PM, who he lauded as a ‘very good friend of mine, and a friend to our nation.’
The American President said he had told two ‘genius’ drug companies to contact British authorities this morning after hearing of Mr Johnson’s plight at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
Mr Trump’s dispatch of 200 ventilators comes a day after British defence firm Babcock said it had received a Government order to produce 10,000 ventilators.
The Government had said 30,000 ventilators will be needed for the NHS to cope with the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, although Health Secretary Matt Hancock revised this down to 18,000 over the weekend.
On Sunday, Mr Hancock warned the UK might not have enough ventilators on hand when the coronavirus peak hits, estimated to be in around 10 days.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hancock said: ‘We need to make sure we have more ventilators than there are people who need ventilation.
‘At the moment we have between 9,000 and 10,000 ventilators within the NHS right now and we have the 2,000 spare that are critical care beds with ventilator capacity should people need to come into them and we’re ramping that up.
‘The answer is that our goal, instead of the 30,000, is that we need 18,000 ventilators over the coming two weeks.’
Asked how many there will be in a week’s time, he said: ‘There should be another 1,500.’
Asked if the country will be below the capacity it needs in a week’s time when the virus is expected to peak, Mr Hancock said: ‘No, because thankfully we’ve got the demand down because the vast majority of people are following their social distancing guidelines.’