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Coronavirus: No N95 masks or critical PPEs are being exported, govt allays fears in wake of claims on social media

The Indian government has reiterated time and again that the authorities have sufficient stock of crucial medical equipment needed to fight the Chinese coronavirus. Hence, while the concerns of some could be genuine and not politically motivated, they are unfounded.

On 29 March, India supplied 90 tonnes of medical protective equipment to Serbia to help the country in fighting the Chinese coronavirus outbreak.

Similar tweet of goods being exported to Serbia from Cochin Customs House also raised similar concerns.

The medical equipment was purchased by the Serbian government and was funded by the European Union. However, many in India felt that this supply of medical equipment to Serbia was little irresponsible on part of Indian government as India itself running short on personal protection equipment and other critical gear.

OpIndia reached out to government officials in the know of the things who clarified that the medical equipments sent to Serbia other then being done on humanitarian grounds is not affecting India’s stock of critical gear needed by medical professionals. “There are presently 33 units in India making surgical gloves, with installed capacity of more than 10 crore pairs per month. Capacity utilisation is in the range of 20-30 % due to adverse market conditions. There is no shortage of the raw material of rubber latex too. Hence, any export will only help poor rubber farmers and increase their income,” top government source in the know of things told OpIndia.

In fact, India provided 15 tonnes of medical equipments to China worth Rs 2.11 crore when the communist country was hit by the outbreak. The deadly COVID-19 virus originated in China’s Wuhan which has infected over 7 lakh people worldwide and has left thousands dead. Moreover, India had banned export of the crucial N95 masks and personal protection equipments (PPEs) since January 31, 2020 [DGFT circular – pdf]. In an amended order also, the DGFT had allowed export of only surgical and disposable masks and all gloves except NBR gloves [pdf]. The PPEs and N95 masks continued to remain restricted even in that order. Hand Sanitizers and ventilators are prohibited from export from 24 March 2020. Textile raw materials for masks and coveralls are also prohibited from export from 19 March 2020 [pdf].

Moreover, the Indian government has reiterated time and again that the authorities have sufficient stock of crucial medical equipment needed to fight the Chinese coronavirus. Hence, while the concerns of some could be genuine and not politically motivated, they are unfounded.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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