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No shortage of PPEs and testing kits: Govt

NEW DELHI: Ending all the speculations about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs), the Centre on Friday made it clear that there is no dearth of any type of the essential item required in the battle against COVID-19. While talking to reporters, Empowered Group-3's chairman PD Vaghela said, "Of the total demand of 75,000 ventilators, presently 19,398 are available and orders have been placed for 60,884 more, and of these 59,884 will be made by domestic manufacturers."

"Similarly, giving a boost to indigenous manufacturing of COVID-19 protective gear, the government has ordered 2.22 crore PPEs of which 1.43 crore will be made by 111 domestic manufacturers," said Vaghela, who is also secretary of Min- istry of Pharmaceutical and Fertilizers.He further said, "The per day manufacturing capacity of PPEs is 1.87 lakh, while 80 lakh protective gears have been imported. As on Thursday, we received 17.37 lakh PPEs, while an additional 1.15 crore PPEs would be received in the next two months." The domestic production was started on March 30 with just 3,312 PPEs in a day and now it has been scaled up to 1.87 lakh per day, the official said.

On the issue of N-95/N-99 masks, he said that the orders have been placed for total 2.49 crore N-95/N-99 masks of which 1.49 crore have been ordered from domestic manufacturers. The domestic production of masks now stands at 2.30 lakh in a day and the Centre is expecting the supply of another 1.40 crore masks in the next 2 months. The govern- ment has imported one crore masks from foreign players. On the availability of diagnostic kits, Vaghela said, "Against the total demand of 35 lakh RT-PCR kits, we have received 13.75 lakh kits, while orders placed for 21.35 kits out of which 2 lakh kits would be provided by domestic manufactures. The government has also received 30 lakh probes, 22 lakh primers and 16.4 lakh master mix out of the total order of 35 lakh each." The Centre has also placed orders for 2 lakh Roche kits against the total demand of 8 lakh such kits and the government has received 0.60 lakh kits as of now, he said.

On the production of drugsand other medical equipment, he said "HCQ (hydroxychlo- roquine) production has ncreased from 12.23 crore to 0 crore per month". Over 4 lakh oxygen cylin- ders are available, which is suf- ficient for today's requirements. Orders for more than one lakh oxygen cylinders have been placed and industrial oxygen is being converted into medical oxygen," he said.

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