New Delhi: The Centre will source 10,000 ventilators from China and has placed orders for domestic production of 40,000 such units to firm up the country's ventilator support resources for treatment to Covid-19 patients.
Besides, orders have also been placed with international companies like Hamilton, Mindray and Draeger for ventilators and even Indian automobile manufacturers will be roped in to source them. Even as it has moved to source these ventilators, 14,000 of them have already been identified in various hospitals across the country, a note by the Union Health Ministry on Monday said.
The government has also placed an order for 21 lakh personal protection equipment coveralls with 11 domestic manufacturers. Currently, these 11 manufacturers are supplying 6,000-7,000 coveralls per day and this is expected to go up to 15,000 per day within the next week, the note said.
Globally, countries have been facing the prospect of rationing their ventilator support systems due to the surge in acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS) among Covid-19 patients. Countries like Italy have had to ration their ventilator support and had to take tough life-or-death calls of prioritising use of ventilators for younger patients and for those who had a higher chance of survival.
The note said Noida-based Agva Healthcare has been able to develop suitable ventilators and an order of 10,000 ventilators has been placed with them. The company will begin delivery by second week of April. In addition, an order for 30,000 ventilators has been placed on state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited which is going to collaborate with domestic manufacturers in this endeavour, it added.
The note said because PPEs were not being manufactured in the country and to meet a surge in their demand, the government has reached out to domestic manufacturers. Frontline doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers cannot work without PPEs as they face the highest risk of contracting Covid infection while treating suspected and confirmed patients. Plastic overalls, coveralls, shoe-covers, hand-gloves, goggles and face shields comprise are the PPEs doctors and healthcare workers need.
The Ministry of Textiles is giving approvals for the fabric used in PPEs and has expedited the process of both fabric approval and PPE production. State-owned Hindustan Lifecare Limited is in-chare of procuring the PPEs and it had floated tenders for them two weeks back. One domestic manufacturer qualified for production of PPEs on Monday and an order of 5 lakh overalls was placed with the company.
One more manufacturer has qualified today and an order of 5 lakh coveralls has been placed with him. As of now, 3.34 lakh PPEs are available in various hospitals across the country. About 60,000 PPE kits have already been procured and supplied by Government of India. The Indian Red Cross Society has arranged 10,000 PPEs from China which have also been received and are being distributed, another 3 lakh donated PPE coveralls are to arrive by 4th April and an order for 3 lakh PPEs has been placed with ordinance factories.
Besides these order, the Ministry of External Affairs will procure 10 lakh PPE kits from a Singapore-based online platform and another Korea-based suppplier with tie-ups in Vietnam and Turkey will supply 20 lakh PPE kits.