Centre to allow export of made-in-India ventilators

The group of ministers met on Friday and cleared a proposal by the health ministry

INDIA-HEALTH-VIRUS (File) A medical staff checks on a ventilator of an intensive care unit at a hospital in Chennai | AFP

After HCQ, India will now sell its domestic innovation, the made-in-India ventilator, to the world. The Group of Ministers (GOM) for COVID-19, that met on July 31, has agreed to the lift restrictions on exports of these ventilators. The restrictions had been in place since March when the government was anticipating a deluge of sicker patients in hospitals needing ventilators.

The group of ministers met on Friday and cleared a proposal by the health ministry to allow the export of indigenously manufactured ventilators. The health ministry was encouraged by the fewer number of deaths being reported due to COVID-19 and fewer active cases on ventilators.

Death count in the country is being debated, with several experts raising concerns over inaccuracies in registering COVID-19 deaths. Health ministry data suggests that 0.22 per cent of the active cases are on ventilators. This implies that 1,199 COVID-19 patients were on ventilators across the country on July 31.

Several public health experts and doctors had earlier pointed out that the need of the hour was not merely ventilators that required trained staff to operate them, but early management of sicker patients with oxygen so that their condition would not worsen, the need for ventilators could be reduced and better outcomes could be ensured.

“There has been a substantial growth in the domestic manufacturing capacity of ventilators. Compared to January, there are more than 20 domestic manufacturers for ventilators now,” the health ministry said.

With this decision, domestic ventilators can find new markets for their products across the world. The decision has been conveyed to the director general of foreign trade for issuing the orders.