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India on Tuesday banned exports of sanitizers and extended the ban on ventilators to artificial respiratory apparatus, oxygen therapy apparatus and any other breathing appliance to plug any loopholes in exports of these critical healthcare items at a time the country is experiencing a sudden rise in Covid-19 cases.

“The move is aimed at preventing any scope for export of ventilators by alternate classifications," a commerce ministry official said under condition of anonymity.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) last week banned export of surgical and disposable masks, all ventilators and textile raw material used for making masks with immediate effect in view of the growing number of cases of Covid-19 in India.

"The export of all ventilators, surgical/disposable masks only, and textile raw material for masks and coveralls only...has been prohibited, with immediate effect," DGFT said in a notification.

India is staring at a shortage of ventilators as more people are expected to be admitted to hospitals that may require critical care. Sunday, as the spike in Covid-19 positive cases turns the spotlight on the need for life-saving and critical care equipment. Mahindra Group will immediately begin work to explore how its factories could make ventilators, chairman Anand Mahindra said on

“We need to create scores of temporary hospitals and we have a scarcity of ventilators. To help in the response of this unprecedented threat, we at the Mahindra Group will immediately begin work on how our manufacturing facilities can make ventilators," Mahindra said in a series of tweets.

The Indian government earlier this month declared face masks and hand sanitisers essential commodities for next 100 days to ensure price regulation and availability as it stepped up efforts to boost supply and prevent hoarding of these items necessary to fight Covid-19.

Both masks (2 layered & 3 layered surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitisers have been brought under Essential Commodities Act, 1955, empowering state governments to regulate production, distribution and prices of these items and also crackdown on hoarding and black marketing. "Government has notified an order under the Essential Commodities Act to declare these items as essential commodities up to June 30, 2020, by amending the schedule of the Essential Commodities Act 1955," the Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

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