Apple to make a million coronavirus face shields a week for medical workers

The company has already donated 20 million face masks and created an app providing Covid-19 information

Apple will design and make a million face shields a week for medical professionals to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

“We have launched a company-wide effort… bringing together product designers, engineering, operations packaging teams and our suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for health workers,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a video message on Sunday.

“Our first shipment was delivered to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara Valley this past week and the feedback from doctors was very positive.”

So far, the company has shipped more than a million face shields and it is expected to assemble up to a million units weekly. Each face shield is assembled in less than two minutes and the California company is sourcing material for manufacturing from the US and China, Mr Cook said. The company has also donated 20 million face masks.

“We are closely co-ordinating with medical professionals and government officials across the US to get these [face shields] where they are needed the most. Our goal is to quickly expand distribution beyond the US,” he said.

Last month, Apple also released a new screening tool and set of resources to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of the coronavirus.

Apple's Covid-19 app and website allow users to answer a series of questions about risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms for themselves or a loved one. In turn, they will receive recommendations, including guidance on social distancing and how to closely monitor symptoms.

“Teams across Apple have been working hard on ways we can support our heroic frontline medical professionals,” said Mr Cook. The company is focusing on “unique ways to meet the essential needs of caregivers at a scale the circumstances require", he said.

“For Apple this is a labour of love and gratitude and we will share more of our efforts over time.”

Apple has also extended the duration of its shop closures outside China indefinitely to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. This affected more than 460 shops, including about 270 of them in the US.

With movement of people restricted worldwide, Apple is offering free home delivery to encourage customers to buy online.

In February, the company also warned investors that supply constraints and falling demand in China will dent growth, making it unlikely second-quarter revenue targets will be met.

In its earlier guidance for the three months to March 30, released on January 29, it projected revenue in the range of $63 billion (Dh231.21bn) to $67bn, a year-on-year rise of almost 15.5 per cent.