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Coronavirus: Working with local textile firms to ensure protective gear for health workers, says Centre

The statement said the production of body coveralls has stringent technical requirements and such materials are manufactured by a few international companies, who expressed their inability to supply on account of a complete glut in stocks and travel bans.

Chandigarh: Despite IDA advisory on COVID-19, govt dental clinics function as usual The hospital has asked those suffering from cough, running nose and fever to report to the isolation room (PTI/ Representational Image)

Amid news of shortage of personal protective equipment for health professionals fighting the coronavirus menace, the Centre on Monday issued a statement saying it is working with various “industry bodies, stakeholders and manufacturers on 24×7 basis” to ensure steady supply of the required equipment.

Slamming the media for “spreading misinformation on the government’s efforts”, a joint statement issued by Ministry of Health and Ministry of Textiles said the government was working on ensuring the supplies of body coveralls, N-95 Masks, and 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks required for healthcare professionals. The statement said the production of these protective equipment, especially body coveralls, has stringent technical requirements and such materials are manufactured by only a few international companies, who expressed their inability to supply on account of a complete glut in stocks and ban of exports by the source countries.

The government then started an outreach programme from January 30 by negotiating with the Chambers of Commerce, various Textiles Associations, medical textiles manufacturers, and suppliers. The government invited a higher participation of local manufacturers having adequate capacity to partner with the government and offer their proto-types for testing.

The Health Ministry finalised the technical requirement of body coveralls on March 2 based on the indigenous availability of materials and the technical requirement for a high level of protection of the healthcare professionals after consultation with medical experts in the field. The specification was published on March 5 on the official website of M/s HLL Lifecare Limited, which is the designated single-window procurement agency for the hospitals and healthcare organisations.

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“So far, proto type garments of six Indian manufacturers have passed the prescribed tests conducted at South India Textiles research association (SITRA), and two more manufacturers are forthcoming as on date. In addition, more and more manufacturers have been invited to offer their proto-type samples, and come forward to meet the requirement of the government,” the statement said.

The statement further said the the supply of body coveralls from indigenous manufacturers has already commenced.

Further, the government has reimposed the ban on exports of all personal protective equipment including body coveralls, N-95 Masks, 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks on March 19 which was earlier lifted on February 8.

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In a report published by The Indian Express on March 18, officials at the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) had said they are trying to procure personal protective equipment kits for medical staff who are handling patients in isolation wards set up by the civic body, but were finding it difficult to procure them.

First published on: 23-03-2020 at 21:29 IST
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