To fight Covid-19, India will need 15 mn PPEs, 50,000 ventilators by June

Topics Coronavirus | India

A medical worker wearing PPE attends to a patient in the intensive care unit in Wuhan | AP
As the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases is on the rise in India, the central government has estimated a steep rise in demand for personal protective equipment (PPEs) and coronavirus diagnostic kit in the coming months. The country would require an estimated 27 million N95 masks, 15 million PPEs, 1.6 million diagnostic kits, and 50,000 ventilators by June 2020, according to an Indian Express report.

In a meeting on April 3, the government officials entrusted with various coronavirus task forces conveyed the numbers to the industry representatives, the report states. The meeting that was headed by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, was reportedly held for coordinating with the private sector, NGOs and international organisations on the pandemic situation in the country and was also attended by FICCI representatives.

Of the estimated demand of 50,000 ventilators in the next two months, 16,000 are already available, and orders have been placed for the remaining 34,000 ventilators. Further, the government is also planning to procure ventilators and PPEs from abroad to deal with any shortage. The Ministry of External Affairs has also been roped in for this purpose, according to the report.

The 'projected demand' is critical for the industry to plan investments and keep up with the production of essential equipments amid the virus outbreak, the IE report states. The country had witnessed an acute shortage of PPEs in the initial stages of the outbreak.

So far, eleven groups have been constituted and tasked by the government to monitor the situation of pandemic across the country and coordinate the response. The said group that attended the meeting with industry representatives has six members Principal Scientific Advisor Dr. Vijayaraghavan, Additional Secretary (Home) Anil Malik, NDMA member Kamal Kishore, Joint Secretary in PMO Gopal Baglay, CBIC member Sandeep Mohan Bhatnagar, and Deputy Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Tina Soni, along with Amitabh Kant.

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Among industry representatives at the meeting were FICCI president, Senior Vice President, Vice President — Dr Sangita Reddy, Uday Shankar, and Sanjiv Mehta. Along with them Ashwani Channan of Honey Well and Harsh Mahajan of Mahajan Imaging also attended the meeting.

As the global death toll in coronavirus surpassed 69,000, the central government is ramping up its preparedness to deal with the pandemic. In the last few weeks, the govt has restricted supply of critical medical equipment, and has prohibited or tightened export restrictions on testing kits and drugs, especially anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. It has also prohibited exports of “all ventilators including any artificial respiratory apparatus or oxygen therapy apparatus or any other breathing appliance/device" along with sanitisers, surgical masks, and PPEs.



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