Centre steps up manufacture, distribution of N95 masks, ventilators as docs complain of protective gear shortage

The government has ramped up efforts to manufacture, procure and boost the supply of Personal Protective Equipment such as N95 masks, coveralls as well as equipment like ventilators, the Ministry for Health and Family Welfare said on Monday

FP Staff March 30, 2020 20:22:59 IST
Centre steps up manufacture, distribution of N95 masks, ventilators as docs complain of protective gear shortage


The government has ramped up efforts to manufacture, procure and boost the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, coveralls as well as equipment like ventilators, the Ministry for Health and Family Welfare said on Monday. This development comes on the backdrop of reports of shortage of such PPE faced by doctors and health care workers across the country.

In a series of tweets, the ministry said that 3.34 lakh PPE coveralls are available with hospitals in the country. Another 3 lakh donated coveralls will be received from abroad by 4 April, it said adding that 10,000 PPE coveralls donated by Red Cross have been received and were being distributed on Monday.

The ministry also said that a stock of 11.95 lakh N95 masks was available in hospitals throughout the country. "Additional 5 lakh (N95 masks) were distributed during the last two days and 1.40 lakhs are being distributed today," it said.

Additionally, two domestic manufacturers are producing as many as 50,000  N95 masks per day, it said, adding the this number was further expected to go up to 1 lakh per day within next week.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will begin manufacturing 20,000 N99 masks per day within the next week, it said.

According to the health ministry, over 14,000 ventilators have been earmarked for COVID-19 patients at various hospitals across the country.  Private manufacturers like Agva Heatlthcare, Noida,  and automobile manufacturers are being asked to make more ventilators, it said.

State-owned aerospace and defence company Bharat Electronics Ltd. has also been asked to manufacture 30,000 ventilators in the next two months in collaboration with local manufacturers, said the ministry.

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Doctors and healthworkers in Kolkata were forced to use raincoats in the absence of protective gowns, gloves, Firstpost had reported on Sunday. Doctors from across the country had in the previous week taken to social media to highlight the lack of protective gear such as masks, overalls.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had on 3 March highlighted the growing shortage of PPE across the world, which it said endangered doctors and frontline healthcare workers and called on governments to step up the manufacturing of essential gear.

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