Japan firms to boost pulse oximeter production

Medical equipment makers in Japan are ramping up production of a device that can be a life-saver for COVID-19 patients.

The firms are being swamped by demand for pulse oximeters, which measure oxygen levels in blood.

The devices can be used by people with light cases of COVID to monitor their health while they are in quarantine. They are advised to seek help immediately if they observe a sudden drop in oxygen, which is potentially a sign of a rapidly worsening condition.

Konica Minolta is one firm that is planning to increase output. The company says that from May, it will boost production to 20 times the pre-pandemic level.

Officials say they will step up production in phases as more parts become available.

Kobayashi Kazuhiro, manager of Konica Minolta's healthcare business, says the firm is working hard to ensure more patients have access to the devices.

Other manufacturers have also indicated they are preparing to increase output.