Coronavirus: 'Make in India' for PPEs, ventilators, and masks
The government on Friday assured that it has enough supply of medical supplies to arm frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19. The government also highlighted its focus on indigenously manufacturing ventilators, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and face masks. It also said that PPEs have become a Rs. 7,000 crore industry in India, second only to China. Here are more details.
Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, Department of Pharmaceuticals Secretary PD Vaghela said that India has an estimated demand of 75,000 ventilators. Vaghela, who is the Chairperson of Empowered Group-3, said that a total of 19,398 ventilators are available already. He said India has placed orders for 60,884 ventilators, including 59,884 orders placed with seven domestic manufacturers, to take "Make in India" forward.
Vaghela said India's supply of oxygen and oxygen cylinders is sufficient, however, it can be ramped up if required. He said four lakh oxygen cylinders are available for supply and orders for over one lakh have been placed with domestic manufacturers. He said industrial oxygen is also being converted into medical oxygen. Further, the government has identified 409 hospitals that generate their own oxygen.
Vaghela said India's demand for PPE kits is 2.01 crore. He said India has already placed orders for 2.22 crore kits, including 1.42 crore kits from domestic manufacturers. He asserted 1.87 lakh kits are being produced daily in the country adding that the PPE market has quickly become a Rs. 7,000-crore industry in India. He said India could export PPEs in the future.
Vaghela said that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed three types of new polyurethane-coated nylon/polyester and has transferred the technology to Indian manufacturers for domestic production. The material is used for making protective health gear.
Vaghela said India has increased its production capacity for face masks to 2.3 lakh per day. India's projected demand for N-95 and N-99 masks is 2.7 crore and 2.5 crore have already been produced, he said. Out of the 2.5 crore masks, 1.5 crore were indigenously manufactured, he added. "There will be no shortage," he assured.
Vaghela said India has a demand for 35 lakh RT-PCR kits. RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) kits are used as diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Vaghela said that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has placed an order for 21.35 lakh kits and 13.75 lakh have already been received. The ICMR is India's nodal health body in the fight against COVID-19.
Vaghela also said that India is producing sufficient hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets, enough to meet local and export demand. He said that India has increased its HCQ production capacity from 12.23 crore tablets in March to 30 crore tablets in April.
According to the latest update from the Union Health Ministry, India has reported a total of 35,365 cases of COVID-19. These include 1,152 deaths and 25,148 active cases along with 9,064 cured or discharged patients and one patient who migrated out of India. With this, India's death rate stands at 3.2% while 25% of patients have recovered.