New Delhi: The government on Sunday said the production capacity of PPE coveralls required by medical personnel treating COVID-19 cases in the country has been ramped up to more than 1 lakh per day, with Bengaluru emerging as a major hub for its production.

“The PPE kits are being sent to states by the Ministry of Health as per requirement. “Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Department of Pharmaceuticals, and Ministry of Textiles are continuously working with various industry bodies, stakeholders and manufacturers on 24×7 basis, to streamline the supply chain, remove bottlenecks and maintain a steady supply of all materials required for the healthcare professionals,” an official statement said.

Production capacity of coveralls required by medical personnel treating COVID-19 cases in the country has been ramped up to more than 1 lakh per day, it added.

Nearly fifty per cent of the coverall production in the country is from Bengaluru.

Other than Bengaluru, PPE coveralls are also being manufactured by approved production units in Tirupur, Chennai and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, Ahmedabad and Vadodara in Gujarat, Phagwara and Ludhiana in Punjab, Kusumnagar and Bhiwandi in Maharashtra, Dungarpur in Rajasthan, Kolkata, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram and few other places.

“The cumulative production till date is approximately one million coverall units,” the statement issued by the Textile Ministry said.

Body coveralls (PPE) have a stringent technical requirements as prescribed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare since it is a specialized protective suit meant for high level of protection to health professionals.

HLL Lifecare Limited is the designated single-window procurement agency for the hospitals and healthcare organisations under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

In the last week of January 2020, the technical standard for the coveralls was prescribed as per WHO class-3 exposure pressure in accordance with ISO 16003 or its equivalent.

“Such materials were being manufactured by a few international companies, who expressed their inability to supply on account of a complete glut in stocks and ban of exports by the source countries. Only a limited quantity was offered and procured by the procurement organization of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,” the statement said.

The health ministry finalised the technical requirement on March 2, based on the indigenous availability of materials and the technical requirement for a high level of protection of the healthcare professionals who would deal with the COVID-19 cases, in consultation with medical experts in the field.

The specification was published on the official website of HLL Lifecare Ltd on 5 March 2020, inviting manufacturers having adequate capability to participate in the procurement process.

As of now, there are four laboratories in the country which have the Synthetic Blood Penetration Resistance Test facilities as well as necessary approvals for conducting tests and certification for Body Coveralls (PPE) required for COVID-19.

These are – South India Textiles Research Association (SITRA), Coimbatore, Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, and two laboratories under Ordnance Factory Board – Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi and Small Arms Factory, Kanpur.

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