India on Monday received 1.70 lakh personal protection equipment (PPE) coveralls donated by China, the Union Health Ministry said.
Along with the domestic supplies of 20,000 coveralls, a total of 1.90 lakh coveralls will now be distributed to hospitals and will add to the 3,87,473 PPEs already available in the country as of now, it said.
"Supply lines from abroad opened up today with the receipt of 1.70 lakh Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) coveralls from China which have been donated to the Government of India," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in press release.
A total of 2.94 lakh PPE coveralls have been arranged and supplied by the centre till now to states, the ministry said.
In addition to this, 2 lakh domestically produced N-95 masks are also being sent to various hospitals. Including these, over 20 lakh N-95 masks have been supplied by the government of India.
"About 16 lakh N-95 masks are presently available in the country, and this figure will increase with the fresh supply of 2 lakh masks," the ministry said.
Major portions of the fresh supplies are being sent to states with comparatively higher number of cases such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan.
Supplies are also being sent to central institutions like AIIMS, Safdarjung and RML hospitals, RIMS, NEIGRIHMS, BHU and AMU, it said.
"The commencement of foreign supplies marks a major milestone in our efforts to procure personal protection equipment for the battle against COVID-19," the ministry said.
An order for 80 lakh complete PPE kits (including N-95 masks) had been placed on a Singapore-based platform earlier and now it has been indicated that supplies will commence from April 11 with the first installment of 2 lakh, followed by 8 lakh more soon thereafter, it said.
"Negotiations are in final stages with a Chinese platform for placing an order of 60 lakh complete PPE kits, which will also include N95 masks. Separate orders for N95 masks and protective goggles are also being placed on some foreign companies," the ministry said in its statement.
Giving a further fillip to domestic capabilities, the Northern Railways has developed a PPE coverall, in addition to the PPE coveralls and N-99 masks developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) earlier, it said.
"Efforts are now being made to start mass production of these products," the ministry said, adding existing N-95 mask producers have increased their capacity to about 80,000 masks per day.
In all, srders have been placed for 112.76 lakhs standalone N95 masks and 157.32 lakhs PPE coveralls. Out of these, 80 lakh PPE kits will include N95 masks," it said.
"The objective is to achieve a supply of about 10 lakh PPE kits per week. Looking at the number of patients in the country, sufficient quantities are available for the moment. Further supplies are expected within this week," the ministry said.