NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Foreign Trade on Monday lifted its prohibition on export of personal protective equipment, but imposed a monthly export quota of only 50 lakh units to safeguard supply to Indian healthcare workers fighting the covid-19 pandemic.
“A monthly quota of 50 lakh PPE medical coverall for covid-19 units has been fixed for issuance of export licenses to the eligible applicants to export PPE medical coveralls for covid-19," the DGFT said in a notification.
The notification comes just a week after the DGFT issued a complete ban on export of all medical coveralls and other personal protective equipment like goggles, gloves, and others.
The trade watchdog had already banned all surgical face masks on 19 March, which was expanded to all masks, except non-medical and non-surgical masks, on 16 May.
The new quota comes even as India’s fight against covid-19 continues, with the total number of cases reaching 5.5 lakh, of which 2.1 lakh are active cases while 16,504 have died.
With hospital brimming with patients and healthcare workers more at risk than ever, the ban on masks is considered necessary.
The trade watchdog has been tweaking its restrictions and prohibitions on medical supplies ever since the covid-19 spread started in India in March.
Earlier this month, DGFT had lifted the ban on export of controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from it a few days after the government approved it. The government had banned export of the drug, repurposed to fight covid-19to maintain adequate supplies in India.