India is the world's second-largest manufacturer of PPEs Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday, during a video call with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, UP and Bengal to launch "high throughput" COVID-19 testing facilities at ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) centres in Mumbai, Noida and Kolkata.
The Prime Minister praised the nation's achievement in scaling up production of PPEs, needed for healthcare professionals battling the coronavirus outbreak, calling it a "huge success story".
"At one point India didn't manufacture a single PPE kit. Now it is the world's second-largest manufacturer. Over 1,200 companies are making PPE kits within six months," the Prime Minister said, adding, "More than three lakh N95 masks are made each day".
In May, 600 firms were producing 4.5 lakh PPE kits per day according to Union Minister Smriti Irani.
In the early weeks and months of the pandemic, India imported PPE kits from abroad. Domestic manufacture only began around February, two months after the virus surfaced in China's Wuhan.
Three lakh ventilators - machines that take over the body's breathing function during advanced respiratory distress - can now be produced every year, the Prime Minister also said.
Launching the new testing facilities, the Prime Minister said there were nearly 1,300 active labs conducting over five lakh tests per day, and that this would be scaled up to 10 lakh tests per day.
"In January we had just one testing centre. Now 1,300 labs are functioning. It was very important to develop coronavirus-specific health infrastructure," the Prime Minister explained.
These labs will not remain restricted to testing of #COVID19 but will be expanded for testing of many other diseases including Hepatitis B & C, HIV, & Dengue in future: PM Modi at launch of 3 new high-throughput labs of ICMR at Noida, Kolkata & Mumbai through video conference pic.twitter.com/muEOcf4m0m— ANI (@ANI) July 27, 2020
The new "high throughput" labs will reportedly be able to test more than 10,000 samples per day.
"These labs will not remain restricted to testing of COVID-19 but in the future will be expanded for testing of many other diseases, including Hepatitis B and C, HIV and dengue," he also said.
PM Modi also praised frontline workers - doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and sanitation workers, calling them "foot soldiers" in a war he indicated India was winning because of a falling mortality rate and rising recovery rate.
"The way we took the right decisions at the right time... today the result is that India is at a much more manageable position than others in world. Our mortality rate is still in the lower range and our recovery rate is improving," he said.
India crossed 14 lakh COVID-19 cases this morning, with nearly 50,000 new infections reported over the past 24 hours. There have been over 40,000 new cases every day since July 23.
The country is the third worst affected in the world, behind the United States (42.34 lakh cases) and Brazil (24.19 lakh cases).