India exported 23 lakh PPE kits to 5 countries in July: Health ministry

Last Updated 14 August 2020, 15:19 IST

From being a net importer of personal protection equipment, India has taken first steps in exporting the protective gear that has emerged key defence in the fight against Covid-19.

The Ministry of Health said domestic manufacturers had exported 23 lakh personal protection equipment (PPE) kits in July, when the government allowed sale of such medical coverall to foreign entities.

The domestic manufacturers sold the PPEs to five countries – the US, Britain, UAE, Senegal and Slovenia.

“This has substantially aided India to position itself in the global export market of PPEs,” the ministry said.

India had lifted the export ban on PPEs on June 29 and set a limit of 50 lakh pieces per month for export.

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the government had encouraged domestic production of PPE kits that include coveralls, N-95 masks and gloves, to meet the growing demand, but put a complete ban on exports.

Several apparel manufacturers tweaked their production units to stitch PPEs with active support from the Textile Ministry which relaxed norms for use material without compromising on safety.

While the Union government is supplying PPE kits, N95 masks, ventilators etc., to the state governments and union territories administrations, states are also procuring these items directly.

“Between March and August 2020, they have procured 1.4 crore indigenous PPE from their own budgetary resources. During the same period, the Centre has distributed 1.28 crore PPE to states, UTs and central institutions, free of cost,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, India also tested nearly 8.5 lakh samples for Covid-19 across its network of 1,451 laboratories.

“India has touched a new high of the highest number of tests in a single day, so far. A record high of 8,48,728 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours (ending Friday morning). This has taken the cumulative tests to 2,76,94,416,” the ministry said.

The ministry said that while the World Health Organisation HO has advised that a country needs 140 tests per day per million population, the national average stands at 603.

(Published 14 August 2020, 12:51 IST)

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