New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The government here on Monday denied any shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs) in the country and the reports on their export.
In a joint statement, the Ministry of Health and Family welfare and the Ministry of Textile said, “It’s unfortunate that certain sections of the media are spreading misinformation on the efforts of the government in augmenting supplies of body cover-alls, N-95 masks, and 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks required for healthcare professionals dealing Covid-19 cases.”
“The export ban on body cover-alls and N-95 masks has been in force since January 31,” it said.
Since the body cover-alls was a specialised protective suit meant for high level protection to the health professionals, it had stringent technical requirements as prescribed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, it said.
Over the last 45 days, it claimed both the ministries had been attempting to locate adequate number of sources which could produce and supply the body cover-alls to the government.
In the last week of January, the technical standard for the cover-alls was prescribed as per WHO class-3 exposure pressure in accordance with ISO 16003 or its equivalent. Such materials were manufactured by a few international companies, which expressed inability to supply due to ban on their exports by the source countries, it said.
Due to that only a limited quantity was offered and procured by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, it said and added, the government had been striving to ensure adequate supply.
HLL Lifecare is the designated single-window procurement agency for hospitals and healthcare organisations under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
Five local manufacturers offered fabric proto-types for testing at the accredited laboratory of the South India Textiles Research Association (SITRA), Coimbatore. After testing between February 2 and February 25, and the reports were referred to the technical experts to decide technical requirements for Covid-19.
The Health Ministry finalised the technical requirement on March 2.
Proto type garments of six Indian manufacturers have passed the prescribed tests at SITRA, and two more manufacturers are likely to submit their products for testing.
The supply of local body cover-alls as per the Health Ministry’s revised technical requirement has begun.