New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) With the number of novel coronavirus cases mounting everyday, the Centre on Friday said that it has sufficient supplies of medical equipment like ART-PCR test kits, oxygen cylinders, PPE materials and ventilators in the country.
Speaking at a press conference, P.D. Waghela, Chairman of the Empowered Group-3, said that there many things in surplus and can even be exported after fulfilling the requirements in the country during the coronavirus pandemic.
Waghela said that there were many challenges to reach up to this level. For example, very high global demand for medical supplies, which are largely imported, no production facility for PPE kits and N-95 masks and small production facilities for ventilators and testing kits etc.
But India took the challenge posed by Covid-19 as an opportunity to create supply chains and ramp up domestic manufacturing capacity for PPE kits by helping capacity expansiona and identification of new manufacturers.
He said against a demand for 35 lakh combined RT-PCR testing kits, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has ordered more than 21 lakh such kits of which 13.75 lakh kits have already been received.
Regarding the stock of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), Waghela said “Production of HCQ has been augmented from 12.2 crore tablets to 30 crore tablets per month now, and 9 crore tablets have been supplied as against the requirement of 2.5 crore. We are exporting HCQ to other countries too.”
He added, “In a short span of time, India has increased its capacity for domestic production of N-95 masks to 2.3 lakh per day.”
He also said that the projected demand for N-95 and N-99 masks is 2.7 crore. “We have ordered 2.5 crore, out of which 1.5 crore is from domestic manufacturers who are able to produce 2.3 lakh masks per day within the nation. There will be no shortage.”
Waghela also told the media that the DRDO has developed three types of PU coated nylon/polyester material and has transferred the technology to Indian manufacturers for domestic production.
He said that against a total demand for 75,000 ventilators, at least 19,398 are available and an additional 60,884 have been ordered. Of this, 59,884 have been ordered to Indian manufacturers.
“More than 4 lakh oxygen cylinders are available which is sufficient for today”s requirements; orders for more than 1 lakh oxygen cylinders have been placed, while industrial oxygen too is being converted into medical oxygen.” said Waghela.
He added that from zero domestic manufacturers earlier, now there are at least 111 indigenous manufacturers, from whom orders for more than 1.4 crore PPE kits have been placed.
“Against projected demand of 2 crore PPE kits, we have already ordered more than 2.2 crore,” he said, adding, “Nine new labs for PPE testing have been added in 15 days.”
Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal, who was also present at the press conference, said that the total confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country stood at 35,043, of which 25,007 were under active medical supervision.