New Delhi: The government will soon place an order for personal protective equipment (PPE) – masks, eye gear and other items – and ventilators from China. However, the list of procurement will not include testing kits that have been found faulty by some nations.
This follows a proposal by China, as part of Beijing’s initiative to extend assistance globally, to jointly fight corona virus. Delhi will enter into commercial deals with Chinese companies and the purchase will not involve any grants. Testing kits supplied by China have been found faulty by Spain, Czech Republic and Turkey. Philippines has also reported faulty kits.
A Chinese company offered to replace thousands of faulty test kits after Spanish health authorities complained they did not work as promised. The first shipment of 640,000 test kits was found to have “insufficient sensibility” to reliably identify infected patients, according to Spanish health minister Salvador Illa, who announced on Thursday that 58,000 kits had been returned.
It was embarrassing to China which is seeking to rebuild image after Wuhan-originated virus spread across the globe. Last week ET reported that India is working on modalities to procure medical items, including ventilators and vital components required for N-95 masks and personal protective equipment, from China on an urgent basis.
This could ease the pressure on India as it readies to take on the pandemic. The production of N-95 masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) had taken a massive hit as vital components are imported from China and South Korea. The supply chain had been majorly hit after Covid-19 outbreak in the two countries. Though India is looking at indigenous solutions and encouraging Indian manufacturers to look at available components, the imported components are vital.
External affairs minister S Jaiashankar spoke with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi over phone to discuss the effect of the novel coronavirus in both the countries. During the telephonic conversation Wang urged India not to brand the virus as ‘Chinese’ as it would be detrimental to China’s image in the world.
Wang extended China’s solidarity with India in the fight against Covid-19. Jaishankar thanked China for its solidarity message and the assistance of medical materials to India. China, Wang said, appreciates India’s containment efforts and the visible progress it has achieved, and believes that the Indian people will properly deal with the disease and overcome it as soon as possible.