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PPE shortages in India lessening

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment while caring for patients with coronavirus infection in the Indian state of Kerala. PPE shortages concept.
Healthcare workers wearing PPE in Kerala. Image credit: Javed Anees / CC0

The Union Government has sought to assure healthcare workers that personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages in the country are easing off. The arrivals of ordered imports and continued efforts to procure the much-needed supplies domestically are underway to guarantee staff safety. 

“Along with domestic supplies of 20,000 coveralls, a total of 1.9 lakh (190,000) coveralls will now be distributed to hospitals and will add to the 387,473 PPEs already available in the country as of now,” the Government has announced. Of masks, as reported by ANI, the Government has provided more than twenty lakh N95 masks with sixteen lakh masks currently available and two lakh being distributed to hospitals. 

The Government has said that equipment including supplies of coveralls, masks, gloves, and goggles would be arranged for healthcare workers, which is being procured from domestic and international sources. China, for example, shipped 170,000 coveralls to India which arrived on Monday.

“The commencement of foreign supplies marks a major milestone in the efforts to procure personal protection equipment for the battle against COVID-19,” read an official statement. Other nations such as Singapore and South Korea have been approached to assist India in the provision of PPE kits. 

“We’ve discussed this with all health secretaries, chief secretaries and DMs [district magistrates] as this is one of the major issues,” said joint secretary in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Lav Agarwal over the situation concerning PPE. “We’ve explained to them that PPEs available with us have already been dispatched to states based on case-load basis.

“We are also making an effort to see how procurement [can] be increased. It has started easing out; in coming weeks we should be able to manage these issues to a large extent.” 

PPE shortages have been a source of major concern when it comes to India’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. The Government has been endeavouring to counteract PPE shortages, in the face of a staggering demand for kits numbering in the millions.

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