The Centre on Wednesday allowed the import of 17 medical devices for three months in view of the coronavirus situation in the country as well as due to an increased demand for the equipment.
In a statement, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said the importers of the medical devices would need to make all declarations immediately required under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, after customs clearance and before the sale of the equipment.
“The importers, importing the said medical devices under this permission shall inform all such imports with quantity imported to the Director (Legal Metrology) and the Controller (Legal Metrology) in the state, where the import is made, immediately after import,” the ministry said.
The equipment that are allowed for import includes nebulisers, oxygen concentrators, vacuum pressure swing absorption and pressure swing absorption, oxygen generators, oxygen canisters, oxygen filling systems, oxygen cylinders, ventilators and nasal masks.
Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal confirmed the news on Twitter. “This will help fulfill the demand of medical devices required for Covid-19,” he tweeted.
As lakhs of new coronavirus cases emerge every day, India is reeling under an acute shortage of oxygen, beds and timely medical care across several states. Social media is awash with desperate calls for ambulances, ICU beds and medicines. Even hospitals are taking to Twitter or going to court to plead with the government to replenish their oxygen supplies and warning that they will need to stop admissions of new patients.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday said that filing these “critical gaps” in essential healthcare services should be India’s first priority as it tackles the second wave.
On Thursday, India set yet another grim record with 3,79,257 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 1,83,76,524. India also recorded 3,645 deaths in a day for the first time, taking the toll to 2,04,832. The number of active cases has crossed the 30-lakh mark.