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Govt working to augment supply of protective gears for health workers

ANI | Updated: Mar 24, 2020 13:29 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar 24 (ANI): The Central government on Tuesday said that the export ban on body coveralls and N-95 Masks has been in force since 31st January and that it is continuously working with stakeholders to streamline the supply chain of protective gears required by healthcare professionals to fight the coronavirus spread.

"It is unfortunate that certain sections of the media are spreading misinformation on the efforts of the government in augmenting the supplies of body coveralls, N-95 Masks, and 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks required for healthcare professionals dealing COVID-19 cases," an official statement by the Ministry of Textile read.

The ministry in its statement elaborated on the steps that have been taken so far and said, "For the last 45 days, Textile Ministry along with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, is attempting to locate an adequate number of sources who can produce and supply the requirement of ''Body Coveralls'' for the government."

It further added that attempts have been made since January 30, through various meetings and interactions with the Chambers of Commerce, textiles associations, medical textiles manufacturers and suppliers to augment the supply.

It mentioned that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare finalised the technical requirements on March 2 and so far prototype garments of six Indian manufacturers have passed the prescribed tests conducted at the accredited laboratory of 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 prototype samples, and come forward to meet the requirement of the government, it added.

"In order to maintain a strong reserve of these essential medical products, the government issued orders banning of exports on all personal protective equipment including body coveralls, N-95 Masks, 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks on 31st January 2020," the Ministry further added.

After a request from the industry, and on the assurance that adequate supply of 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks at reasonable prices would be ensured, the government lifted the ban on exports of surgical masks on 8th February.

"However, the ban on exports was re-imposed on 19th March 2020, on all 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks and the raw materials required for the manufacture of such products. The export ban on body coveralls and N-95 Masks has since been in force since 31st January 2020, a fact in contravention to the misleading information published in the media," read the statement. (ANI)