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Toyota to make protective gear in US to aid coronavirus battle

Japanese automaker to also help ventilator makers boost capacity

Toyota will begin producing medical-use face guards to help the U.S. fight against the coronavirus.    © Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Toyota Motor Corp's North American unit said on Friday it would produce face shields, ventilators and respirators, as the death toll from the coronavirus exceeds 1,200 in the United States.

The automaker said it would begin mass production of 3-D printed face shields early next week, and was currently looking for partners to produce COVID-19 mask filters.

The first batch of face shields would be distributed to hospitals in Houston, Dallas, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan, Toyota said.

It was finalizing agreements with at least two medical device makers that produce ventilators and respirators to help boost their capacity, the company said. 

More than 531,600 people have been infected by the virus across the world, with 84,946 confirmed cases in the United States.

The pandemic has forced the shutdown of auto plants around the world as several countries have gone into lockdown to stem the spread of the virus. 

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