The Union health ministry on Thursday said there is no need topanic over the availability of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE),but stressed these should be used rationally.
Joint Secretary at the health ministry Lav Agarwal said at thedaily briefing that 20 companies are manufacturing PPE in India and orders for1.7 crore PPE have already been placed with them.
Since Wednesday, 540 cases of the coronavirus infection and 17deaths due to it have been reported, he said.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in India is 5,734 and 166people have died due to the disease, he said.
According to an ICMR official, 1,30,000 samples have been testedfor COVID-19 so far in country.
"No need to believe any rumour or have any fear regardingPPE. Our guidelines state that not only PPE should be made available, but theyshould be used rationally," Agarwal said
"It (PPE) should be used as per requirement, and as I havetold you, I can use four N95 masks within a day, or I can use just one within aday. While the central government is augmenting supplies to the states, we arealso requesting them to use them rationally," he said.
Orders for 49,000 ventilators have been placed and their supply isunderway, Agarwal said and informed that 10 teams of COVID-19 specialists havebeen sent to nines states.
The official also said that the Indian Railways has produced about6 lakh reusable face masks and over 4,000 litres of hand sanitiser.
It has also converted 3,250 coaches into COVID-19 isolation unitswith beds. Total 5,000 coaches are to be converted, Agarwal said.