India sending Hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries, will not procure PPES from China

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India is in the process of supplying anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to 55 coronavirus-hit countries as grants as well as on commercial basis, sources said.

In order to help other countries fight the pandemic, India has prepared a set of three lists of countries that would receive supplies of Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug.

The list of countries to which India is supplying Hydroxychloroquine is Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Myanmar, Zambia, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, Jamaica, Marshall Islands, Syria, Ukraine, Eswatini, Chad, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, France, Jordan, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Tanzania, UAE, Uzbekistan, Uruguay, Colombia, Algeria, Bahamas, Bolivia, Guyana, UK, US.

These have been divided into two clusters — on a commercial and humanitarian basis.

Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the Covid-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York.

The demand for the drug has swelled rapidly in the last few days after India decided to lift a ban on its export.

India lifted the ban on the export of the drug last week, nearly two weeks after imposing a ban on its export.

Meanwhile, sources said India is looking at various aspects of fighting the coronavirus pandemic by procuring medical equipment, testing kits and PPEs (Personal Protective Equipments) from various countries.

On Thursday, sources said India received 6.5 lakh testing kits from China to ensure continued access to vital medical supplies.

“As part of these efforts, Rapid Antibody Testing Kits (first lot of 3 lakh from Guangzhou Wondfo and 2.5 lakh from Zhuhai Livzon) and RNA Extraction Kits (1 lakh from MGI Shenzhen), all custom cleared yesterday late night have left this morning for India. In total, 6.5 lakh kits are on the way; should reach today (Thursday). Our Embassy in Beijing and Consulate in Guangzhou played a key role,” a source said.

Sources told India Today that more testing kits are on also their way from South Korea. “We have also received quotations from UK, France, Canada, US, Malaysia, Germany and Japan,” the source said.

Sources, however, said that PPEs would not be procured from China even as testing kits are being imported. There have been reports of many of the PPEs being found “faulty” and “sub-standard”.

Another source, without naming which country the consignment is coming, said “a large consignment of PPE was arriving in India. It could be similar to the number of testing kits”.

The Chinese embassy in New Delhi rejected these reports saying that they attach great importance to the export of medical products.

“Recently, the Chinese authorities introduced stricter regulatory measures, requiring relevant exporting enterprises to provide written or electronic statements when declaring to the customs that their exports have obtained the registration certificate for the medical device from the State Food and Drug Administration and met the quality standards of the importing country or region. Some countries including India raised their purchasing demands through diplomatic channels, and we recommend qualified companies,” the official statement of the Chinese embassy stated.

“We hope that foreign buyers can choose products certified by Chinese regulatory authorities and with production qualifications when importing relevant products,” it added.

On questions regarding Indians abroad, India continues to maintain that the Indian nationals should stay wherever they are and seek help and guidance from Indian missions.

The total number of Indians abroad who have tested positive for Covid-19 is 3,336 from 53 countries and 25 have died so far.

The Covid-19 control room set up by the Ministry of External Affairs has till date answered 18,000 emails, 5,000 phone calls, 2,000 public grievances.

(With inputs from Milan Sharma and PTI)

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About the author: Sohom Das
Founder of Tuccho.

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