Amid increasing demand for essential commodities such as masks, sanitisers, gloves due to Coronavirus outbreak, Union Minister of State for Shipping and Chemical and Fertilisers, Mansukh Mandaviya, said on Tuesday that his ministry is fulfilling all the requirements regarding the same.
"The responsibility of my ministry is to provide medicines to the people of the country as per the requirement. We are fulfilling the requirements of medicines," Mandaviya told ANI.
"Right now there is a requirement of masks in the country... Our second responsibility is to provide sanitisers and gloves. The Ministry is in contact with those doing productions and fulfilling the requirements," he added.
Masks, sanitisers, and gloves have witnessed heavy demand since the cases of Coronavirus rose drastically in several parts of the country. Mandaviya stated that the government is also checking for the black marketing of these essential commodities.
The government has banned the export of all sanitisers, ventilators, surgical/disposable masks and textile raw material used for making masks and coveralls with immediate effect in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
It also banned exports of all types of ventilators, including any artificial respiratory apparatus or oxygen therapy apparatus or any other breathing appliance or device.
"The export of all sanitisers, ventilators, surgical/disposable masks only, and textile raw material for masks and coveralls only...has been prohibited, with immediate effect," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
The decision will shore up domestic supplies of these items amid the Coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 10 people and infected 519 people in India. However, the notification said items including gloves, ophthalmic instruments and appliances, surgical blades, gas masks with a chemical absorbent for filtration against poisonous vapour and smoke, and biopsy punch can be freely exported.
India on January 31 banned export of all kinds of personal protection equipment, including clothing and masks used to protect people from air-borne particles. However, on February 26, the government removed eight items, including a certain kind of gas masks, and surgical blades, from the list of banned export items.
There is a shortage of hand sanitisers and face masks in the market amid the Coronavirus outbreak as people resorted to panic buying.
(With inputs from agencies)