ON receipt of requests received from the USA, Sri Lanka, Nepal & some other nations, India agrees to export anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine on a case-by-case basis

Ebangla Bureau

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AMIDT fighting COVID -19  and keeping in view its own citizens, India has decided to export anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to the United States of America and several other nations responding to their requests on a case-by-case basis in sync with its commitment to the international community to fight the coronavirus pandemic.POTUS Trump had personally appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the anti-malaria drug. Hydroxychloroquine is an old and inexpensive drug used to treat malaria. India had banned export of hydroxychloroquine in the midst of views that the drug could be used as a potential anti-viral agent to protect healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients from the infection. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Tuesday, 07 April 2020 said the decision has been taken in view of the humanitarian aspects of COVID-19 pandemic. He said India will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic, he said adding there should not be any speculation or attempt to politicize the matter. The MEA spokesperson said the DGFT has notified lifting restrictions on 14 drugs yesterday. He said paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine will be kept in a licensed category and their demand position would be continuously monitored. He assured that the first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of India’s own people.Some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products.  Srivastava said these restrictions have been largely lifted after having confirmed the availability of medicines for all possible contingencies currently envisaged. President Donald Trump has warned India that the US may retaliate if it did not export hydroxychloroquine despite his personal request, saying he would be surprised if New Delhi did not relent as it has good relations with Washington. “India has always maintained that the international community must display strong solidarity and cooperation. This approach also guided our evacuation of nationals of other countries’’, the MEA Spokesperson said. Government today opened up supply lines from abroad with the receipt of 1.70 lakh Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) coveralls from China which have been donated to India. Along with domestic supplies of 20 thousand coveralls, a total of 1.90 lakh coveralls will now be distributed to hospitals and will add to the 3 lakh 87 thousand 473 PPEs already available in the country as of now. A total of 2.94 lakh PPE coveralls has been arranged and supplied by the Centre now. In additions, two lakh domestically produced N95 masks are also being sent to various hospitals.  About 16 lakh N95 masks are presently available in the country, and this figure will increase with the fresh supply of two lakh masks. Major portions of the fresh supplies are being sent to States with comparatively higher number of cases such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan. Supplies are also being sent to central institutions like AIIMS, Safdarjung and RML hospitals, RIMS, BHU and AMU.

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