India gets 6,50,000 coronavirus testing kits from China; ramps up global hunt for more3 min read . Updated: 16 Apr 2020, 11:08 PM IST
- The number of positive cases of coronavirus climbed to 12,759 while the death rose to 420, according to the Health Ministry
- The testing kits from China came from three suppliers
NEW DELHI : India on Thursday received 6,50,000 coronavirus testing kits from China even as it ramped up global hunt to procure more medical equipment including from the US, the UK, South Korea and France in view of rising cases of the infection, government sources said.
They said large consignments of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits are being bought from a number of countries to meet their increasing demands by several states battling to stem the spread of the infection.
The testing kits from China came from three suppliers.
The sources said 300,000 rapid antibody testing kits came from Guangzhou Wondfo, 250,000 kits were procured from Zhuhai Livzon, and 100,000 RNA extraction kits came from MGI Shenzhen.
In the wake of adverse reports about quality of Chinese medical equipment, the Spokesperson in the Chinese embassy, Ji Rong, said China attaches great importance to the export of medical products and that steps have taken to ensure their quality.
"Some countries including India raised their purchasing demands through diplomatic channels, and we recommend qualified companies. We hope that foreign buyers can choose products certified by Chinese regulatory authorities and with production qualifications when importing relevant products," Ji said.
She said the Chinese authorities introduced stricter regulatory measures, requiring exporters to declare that their supplies have obtained the registration certificate for medical device from the State Food and Drug Administration and meet the quality standards of the importing country.
Asked about the quality of the equipment procured from China, the government sources said adequate care has been taken to source the equipment from companies which that fulfil international standards for exports.
India has been facing severe shortage of PPEs and testing kits in view of rising cases of the coronavirus. The number of positive cases of coronavirus climbed to 12,759 while the death rose to 420, according to the Health Ministry.
On Tuesday, Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri told reporters in Beijing that India has placed orders to procure 15 million personal protection gear from China for medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients.
As demand for Chinese medical supplies scaled up due to the spread of the virus in several parts of world, China on Wednesday asked all the countries to import these items through reputed Chinese firms cleared by the government and vowed to punish those involved in counterfeit behaviour.
The Ministry of External Affairs has been at the forefront of the government's efforts to procure vital medical supplies from other countries.
Sources said India is also also looking at procuring medical equipment including testing kits from South Korea, the UK, the US, France, Japan, Malaysia and Germany.
Indian missions in these countries have been tasked with immediately identifying possible areas of cooperation and engage with relevant authorities for procurement of medical equipment and technology.
The need for looking at best practices, innovations, scientific breakthroughs and medical equipment to fight the pandemic was highlighted extensively by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference he held with heads of 130 Indian missions few weeks ago.
India is specifically looking at South Korea's approach of widespread testing and significant use of digital tracking of suspected cases to contain the pandemic.
The South Korean model of 'trace, test and treat strategy' has received global recognition. Unlike majority of the countries dealing with the pandemic, South Korea has not resorted to any lockdown and allowed business and economic activities to go on as usual.
Sources also said that there could be a meeting of the leaders of the BRICS grouping to look for cooperation to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) is also an influential bloc which represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world population and have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.
All the BRICS member nations are reeling under the pandemic.