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As Coronavirus Cases Soar, Narendra Modi Govt Puts Curb On Exports Of Diagnostic Kits With Immediate Effect

The Move Is Aimed At Providing Much-needed Help To Health Workers Across The Country. The Diagnostic Kits Are Used In Testing The Patients.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Surabhi Pandey | Updated on: 04 Apr 2020, 02:16:48 PM
Coronavirus scanning file photo

The diagnostic kits are used in testing the patients. (Photo Credit: File Photo)

New Delhi:

As India witnesses a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases, the Narendra Modi government has decided to put curbs on the exports of the diagnostic kits from the country. In a circular issued on Saturday afternoon, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said that 'the export of diagnostic kits (diagnostic or laboratory reagents on a backing, preparation diagnostic or laboratory reagents)... is restricted with immediate effect.' The move is aimed at providing much-needed help to health workers across the country. The diagnostic kits are used in testing the patients. As India scales up the testing rates, more diagnostic kits would be required in the country. The development comes as the nation registered 2,902 coronavirus cases on Saturday. Earlier, the Centre had banned the export of surgical masks and gloves. Last month in the first week of March, India had also restricted the export of dozens of drugs including paracetamol and various antibiotics. One of the world’s largest producers and exporters of drugs, India had restricted the exports of drugs include paracetamol, antibiotics such as tinidazole and erythromycin, the hormone progesterone, which is used in the contraceptive pill, and vitamins B12, B1 and B6. (Coronavirus Outbreak Live Updates)

In response to COVID-19, face mask production has been initiated by Self Help Groups (SHGs) members in 24 States covering 399 Districts of the country under the Ministry of Rural Development’s National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM). 21,028 members of 4281 SHGs in 5 districts of Andhra Pradesh and 10,780 members of 1927 SHGs in 32 districts of Tamil Nadu produced 25,41,440 and 26,01,735 masks respectively in 10 days. Members of SHGs of various states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and many North Eastern states are also involved in producing masks.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Saturday issued a fresh advisory regarding the usage of masks by the citizens in the country. According to the latest reports, the government has urged the citizens to wear 'homemade face covers' especially when they step out of their houses. This comes at a time when the nation is staring at a shortage of masks and gloves. Globally, health experts are advocating for simple scarfs to protect from exposure.

On Friday, a top US scientist said that the new coronavirus might spread through the air via normal breathing and speaking. Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told Fox News the guidance on masks would be changed "because of some recent information that the virus can be spread even when people just speak, as opposed to coughing and sneezing." A recent NIH funded study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus could become an aerosol and remain airborne for up to three hours.

While the Centre has not said anything about community transmission, the data by the health ministry shows a grim picture. The latest media reports say that the novel coronavirus has spread to 30 per cent of districts in India. Over 200 districts have reported about the COVID-19 infections so far.


(With agency inputs)

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First Published : 04 Apr 2020, 01:32:11 PM