Three days after 50,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits reached Assam from China, state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said those would not be used for now as rumours have been spread about their quality, creating doubt in the minds of doctors and nurses.
“Baseless allegations” had come from some quarters that the Chinese kits had failed the tests and were rejected by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the minister said.
The DRDO has already clarified through an official statement that no kit was rejected, he told a press conference.
“Several doctors and nurses have messaged me regarding these kits as they are in doubt about their quality. We do not want them to feel demotivated or confused at this juncture. They are engaged in a battle against the coronavirus and we have decided not to use those PPE kits for now,” Sarma said.
Assam had directly imported 50,000 PPE kits from Guangzhou in China and Sarma himself had received the consignment at the airport here on April 15.
“We have asked the suppliers to keep the kits in their store and in the meantime, we will send a few for testing to government-accredited laboratories,” the minister said.
He said some people are indulging in politics by spreading false and baseless allegations but the authorities are now more concerned about the medical staff, who are at the forefront of the fight against the virus.
“Only they who will decide when they are ready to use the kits,” Sarma said.
He said the state government had placed the order with the suppliers “when we had around 2,000 PPE kits only, but now we have 1.50 lakh kits with us. It gives mental strength to know that these are available in our stores and can be used if required”.
The state already had one lakh PPE kits and with the arrival of this consignment, “we are nearer to our target of two lakh, at which it will be capped”, Sarma said.
“Now we are using the Indian kits but we have the Chinese kits in our reserve stock. Those will be made available when required,” he added.
The stock can also be sent to the neighbouring states if they need it, the minister said.