Union Health Ministry on Monday said that it has significantly ramped up its production capacity of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and N95 masks with three lakh units each being manufactured daily. The statement comes following some new reports expressing concern about the quality of PPE amidst rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.
“There are some reports in a section of the media expressing concern about the quality of personal protective equipment (PPE) coveralls,” the ministry said, clarifying that the products referred to in the reports have no relevance to the procurement being made by the central government.
HLL Lifecare is the procurement agency for hospitals and healthcare organisations under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The ministry said that the PPE coveralls are being procured from manufacturers or suppliers only after getting them tested and approved by one of the eight labs nominated by the Ministry of Textiles (MoT) for testing the same.
“It is only after their products qualify in the test prescribed by the technical committee (JMG) of the Ministry of Health that they are procured,” the statement stated.
Further, the HLL is also undertaking random sampling of the supplies being made for which a testing protocol has been devised, it said.
“In case of any failure, the company is being disqualified for any supplies,” the ministry said.
All the states and UTs have been asked to ensure procurement which is being carried out at their level after following the prescribed testing for PPEs from the labs nominated by the MoT.
In addition, manufacturers who have got their products qualified from these labs are also being on-boarded on Government e-Marketplace (GeM).
“India has significantly ramped up its domestic production capacity of PPEs and N95 masks, and the requirements of the states and UTs are being sufficiently met. Today, the country is producing more than three lakh PPEs and N95 masks per day,” the ministry said. It said that states and UTs as well as central Institutions have been provided with around 111.08 lakh N95 masks and around 74.48 lakh PPEs.
As coronavirus infections in the country crossed 1.38 lakhs on Monday, the centre has asked 11 municipals with 70% of the cases to ramp up their health infrastructure and ensure preparedness for the next two months to tackle the pandemic.
Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan account for 70 per cent of the active caseload, the Union health ministry said in a statement.
(With inputs from PTI)