With three confirmed positive cases of the novel coronavirus in India and hundreds of other suspects under isolation, the Central government has stated that the country would require over 50,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits in stock for doctors and medical staff in charge of treating the patients. The PPE consists of a mask, eye shield, shoe cover, gown, and gloves that are worn by the medical staff.
Union Health Ministry officials spoke about the stock of logistics including PPE. "As of now, adequate stocks of logistics including PPE is available. State governments have also been advised on the necessary precaution to be taken up on the issue. Presently there is no such crisis--like shortage of PPE. But, as a part of preventive measures storing an adequate quantity of PPE in advance is always a better way to deal with the crisis, if the need arises. We have estimated the requirement of about 50,000 PPE kit for the doctors," the official said.
Adding further, the official informed that India has very few companies that manufacture the kits. "We are in talks with three companies who import and manufacture PPE from abroad. As of now, they have approximately 20,000 PPE kits in hand and they are ready them to give us. One company has given 11,500 PPE kits while the others have given 7500 and 300 PPE kits respectively," he informed.
"Similarly, we are in touch with three companies who manufacture these PPE in the country itself. But these companies give supplies to the Army. So, we have sent their samples for quality tests, which the technical wing of the ministry of textiles is dealing with. Once, it gets approved, we will give orders for manufacturing of PPE in bulk," the official added.
As per the latest updates, the novel Coronavirus has killed 811 people in China after the severely affected Hubei province reported 81 new fatalities on February 9. There are now more than 36,690 confirmed cases across China.
Amid the deadly outbreak, the head of an international team led by the World Health Organization (WHO) which is studying the novel Coronavirus outbreak will be leaving for China on February 10 or 11, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Tedros hopes that the team would include experts from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Top emergency expert of WHO, Dr. Mike Ryan, said the number of new cases reported from Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus, has been steady over the past four days.
(With inputs from ANI)