The delivery of the ventilators was expected to take place last week, but due to “strong competition between States for access to equipment” and “interruptions in supply chains”, including access to components, at a time when several countries are in state and emergency, production was delayed, explained the same source.

The strong demand for ventilators created dysfunctions in the market, at a time when the public health crisis, which started in Wuhan, in central China, spread to Europe, the United States and other regions of the planet, resulting in a global shortage.

"Every effort has been made with several entities to ensure, in this adverse situation, the delivery of equipment within the time window appropriate to the medical needs of our country," said the embassy.

A week ago, the Portuguese Minister of Health said that the delivery of 508 fans ordered to China was delayed.

Globally, the covid-19 pandemic has already killed more than 157,000 people and infected more than 2.2 million people in 193 countries and territories. More than 502,000 patients were considered cured.

In Portugal, 687 people out of the 19,685 registered as infected died.

The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.