Approved PPE kits Must have unique code and stickers

Manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE Kit) will now need to mark their products with a unique code and tamper-proof stickers, the textile ministry has said. This comes after reports emerged that unapproved products were being sold in the market.

Healthcare workers are at most risk of infection as they come in close contact with Covid-19 patients. With a global shortage of PPE that is supposed to protect them, the demand for such equipment has grown exponentially in hospitals and among sanitation workers who are called on to disinfect high risk areas.

The move, ministry officials said, was to tighten the production of PPE among Indian manufacturers and producers in line with the specifications of the World Health Organisation and the union ministry of health and welfare.

The ministry, in a notification issued on April 6, said the Unique Certification Code (UCC-COVID19) will apply to PPE garments and fabric which pass the laboratory tests laid down by the South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) as well as the the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE). The Code will record the type of garment, its test procedure, date of test. The certification will be valid for a certain time period and both SITRA and DRDE will preserve the sample sent by the producer, said the notification, accessed by HT.

Approvals for the manufacturing of PPEs and the fabrics used in making them are given by the Coimbatore-based SITRA, an autonomous body under the textiles ministry and the Gwalior-based DRDE.

Another directive was that in the case of coveralls, the manufacturer will print in indelible ink or in a tamper-proof sticker details such as name of producer, code, test standard, batch number, order details.

A ministry official, on the condition of anonymity, told HT that the move was prompted by news reports of some of those rejected by SITRA and DRDE supplying their units to private hospitals. The directives have now been sent to states, too.

Nihar Ranjan Dash, joint secretary at the textiles ministry said that the certification mainly concerns coveralls and fabric provided by certain manufacturers to producers of PPEs. “The directive does not concern masks, as they are certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards. All this while, as we relied on imports, the specifications were of international standards,” said Dash.

He added that the tightening of norms will also help Indian manufacturers prepare for the global market. The current capacity of the Indian industry is 12,000 units per day, but Dash said that in about three months, India has the production capacity of 300,000 PPEs per day.

An official of one of the testing agencies told HT, on the condition of anonymity, that the two specific tests that are applied are the synthetic blood penetration test in the case of coveralls and the bacterial efficiency test in the case of masks. “A severe shortage of N95 masks has been a concern as there are just a handful of producers,” said the officials.

Since India began domestic production of PPE in March, these two testing agencies have approved 28 manufacturers with non-woven textiles such as masks and coveralls, and additionally approved 22 manufacturers of the fabric that is supplied to some of these producers.

The official of the testing agency said that in the beginning, only 50% of manufacturers passed the test. “The success rate now is over 80 percent,” the official said.

Covid-19: Over a lakh Keralites, mostly from Middle-East, register to return home

This new facility was opened by the Kerala government, after the Centre, following the numerous requests from several quarters decided to take a positive step.

Twelve hours after the Kerala government opened a website, on which all those who want to return from abroad would have to register, over a lakh of Kerala diaspora have registered expressing their desire to return, when the airports open.

These registrations are mostly from the various Middle East countries and among it, the maximum registrations are from the UAE.

The registration has to be done on, of the state-run Norka-Roots, the official body of diaspora.

This new facility was opened by the Kerala government, after the Centre, following the numerous requests from several quarters decided to take a positive step.

The Union Cabinet Secretary a few days back asked the various state-chief secretaries about the arrangements and the manner in which the returning diaspora would be taken care of.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had informed the efforts of Kerala were praised by the Cabinet secretary and asked other states to follow the way Kerala has done.

Vijayan also pointed out that all arrangements were ready at the four Kerala airports.

Those arriving will be screened. While those with no Covid-19 symptoms will be allowed to go for home isolation, others will be quarantined under the present medical guidelines.

According to the state government, various hostels, hotels, halls, private hospitals with accommodation facilities as well as floating houseboats at Alappuzha are ready to house them.

While many of these coronavirus care centres would be operated for free, those wishing better facilities and comfort will have to pay.

Of an estimated 2.5 million non-resident Keralites, 90 per cent of them are in the Middle East countries, three to five lakh are likely to return after the revival of air services.

source – HindustanTimes

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