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Rahul questions 'delay' in banning export of masks, suggests 'criminal conspiracy'

Rahul questions delay in banning export of masks, suggests criminal conspiracy

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not maintaining sufficient stock of life-saving equipment like ventilators and surgical masks amid the coronavirus outbreak despite World Health Organisation's guidelines.

Sharing a report that said the Centre banned export of masks three weeks after WHO issued the advisory, Gandhi suggested a "criminal conspiracy" behind the delay.

"Respected Prime Minister, why did the Indian government allow the export of all these things till March 19 contrary to WHO's advice to keep sufficient stock of ventilators and surgical masks. Which forces encouraged these games? Isn't this a criminal conspiracy," Gandhi asked.

WHO had on February 27 issued guidelines saying: "The current global stockpile of PPE is insufficient, particularly for medical masks and respirators; the supply of gowns and goggles is soon expected to be insufficient also. Surging global demand − driven not only by the number of COVID-19 cases but also by misinformation, panic buying and stockpiling − will result in further shortages of PPE globally."

However, according to the report shared by Gandhi, the government had issued a notification prohibiting the export of personal protective equipment (PPE) and material to manufacture those only on March 19, the day after PM Modi announced 'Janata curfew' for Sunday.

Day after India reported its first COVID-19 case, the Centre had issued a notification on January 31 prohibiting the export of equipment used to protect people from airborne particles, including certain kinds of protective clothing and masks. However, it withdrew the order after eight days.

(Inputs and image from theindianexperss.com)

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