India on Monday opened supply lines as it received 1.70 lakh Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) coveralls from China amid the coronavirus crisis.
Along with domestic supplies of 20,000 coveralls, a total of 1.90 lakh coveralls will now be distributed to hospitals and will add to the 3,87,473 PPE kits already available in the country as of now.
A total of 2.94 lakh PPE coveralls have been arranged and supplied by the Government of India now.
In addition to this, two lakh domestically produced N95 masks are also being sent to various hospitals. Including these, over 20 lakh N95 masks have been supplied by the Government of India.
About 16 lakh N95 masks are presently available in the country, and this figure will increase with the fresh supply of two lakh masks.
Major portions of the fresh supplies are being sent to States with a comparatively higher number of coronavirus cases such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Rajasthan.
Supplies are also being sent to central institutions like AIIMS, Safdarjung and RML Hospitals, RIMS, NEIGRIHMS, BHU, and AMU.
“The commencement of foreign supplies marks a major milestone in the efforts to procure personal protection equipment for the battle against COVID-19,” read an official statement.
An order for 80 lakh complete PPE kits (including N95 masks) had been placed on a Singapore based platform earlier and now it has been indicated that supplies will commence from April 11 with two lakh, followed by eight lakh more in a week.
Negotiations are in final stages with a Chinese platform for placing an order of 60 lakh complete PPE kits, which will also include N95 masks. Separate orders for N95 masks and protective goggles are also being placed on some foreign companies.
Giving a further fillip to domestic capabilities, Northern Railways have developed a PPE coverall. This is in addition to the PPE coveralls and N99 masks developed by the DRDO earlier. Efforts are now being made to start mass production of these products. Existing N95 mask producers have increased their capacity to about 80,000 masks per day.
Orders have been placed for 112.76 lakh stand-alone N95 masks and 157.32 lakh PPE coveralls. Out of these, 80 lakh PPE kits will include N95 masks. The objective is to achieve a supply of about 10 lakh PPE kits per week.
According to the latest update of the Health Ministry, there are 4,281 cases in the country including 3,851 active cases and 318 cured or discharged and 111 deaths. The Ministry said there has been an increase of 704 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, which is the steepest rise so far in the country in a day.
(With ANI inputs)