India could purchase ventilators and masks from China to help the nation combat the deadly coronavirus, according to an Indian government official. Health experts say the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in Covid-19 cases that could submerge its weak health system.
The Indian government said it was trying to obtain medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries like South Korea and China, to meet shortages, according to Reuters.
“China, definitely we are going to buy … Because scaling up our domestic production will take time,” said a top Indian policy official aware of the plan, who declined to be identified due to sensitivity of the discussions.
Earlier, as per the report of El Pais, Spain after buying $467 million in medical supplies from China, including 950 ventilators, 5.5 million testing kits, 11 million gloves and more than half a billion protective face masks soon announced that it had planned to return 9,000 quick result test kits to China because they were deemed substandard.
China later admitted that the kits they sold to Spain were bought from Bioeasy, a Chinese company not licensed to make them. The Netherlands had also recalled thousands of masks imported from China due to quality issues.
“A large number of Chinese manufacturers are working around the clock to help other countries save lives. Our sincerity and assistance is real. If problems occur in this process, the Chinese side will talk to relevant departments,” China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference on Monday.
According to reports, Chinese manufacturers had shown keen interest in providing protective health gear to India, lodging queries with Indian diplomatic missions in Shanghai and Beijing. China was emerging as a preferred supplier at this stage as new virus infections were slowing there and its factories were being pushed to reopen.
India needs at least 38 million masks and 6.2 million pieces of personal protective equipment as it confronts the spread of coronavirus, according to a report by its investment agency seen by Reuters.
Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, France had ordered 1 billion face masks from China, French Health Minister Olivier Véran confirmed in a press conference on Saturday. Speaking alongside Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, Véran said the country could produce 8 million face masks a week but consumed 40 million each week.
As the Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, thousands of factories in China have turned to a new and very profitable export market i.e. face masks. With the shift of the Covid-19 epicentre from China via Europe to the United States, Beijing has re-modelled itself as the world’s guardian as local infection figures decline to almost zero.