India exports COVID-19 protective gear to Serbia, health ministry denies knowledge of the matter

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 01, 2020, 09.50 AM(IST) Edited By: Sonal Gera

Coronavirus in India Photograph:( AFP )

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In India, several doctors have contracted coronavirus after coming in contact with patients while working without any protective gear. There have been reports that doctors in some corners of the country have been using raincoats and motorbike helmets.

India has reportedly exported 90 tonnes of medical equipment and safety gear to Serbia. The health ministry has, however, denied any knowledge of the matter.

The Serbian wing of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), which is the providing support to coronavirus-effected nations, tweeted: "The 2nd cargo Boeing 747 with 90t of medical protective equipment landed from India to Belgrade today. The transportation of valuable supplies purchased by @SerbianGov  has been fully funded by the #EU while @UNDPSerbia organized the flight & ensured the fastest possible delivery.”

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The consignment included surgical gloves, masks and coveralls.

The spokesperson of Kochi airport said a consignment was sent on March 29 too — to Belgrade on a Transaviaexport Airlines cargo freighter. The Cochin Customs had facilitated the clearance and tweeted about it.

The tweet read: "Cochin customs in action to clear a consignment of 35 lakhs pairs of sterile latex surgical gloves to Serbia to support the global war against #COVID2019 " 

This — despite a huge crunch of the protective gear in India. Several doctors have contracted coronavirus after coming in contact with patients while working without any protective gear. There have been reports that doctors in some corners of the country have been using raincoats and motorbike helmets.

Cases have been reported in Lucknow, where authorities turned down the OPD doctors' request for specialised protective equipment a week after a resident doctor contracted the disease.

On Monday, however, the Centre said it was trying to procure bulk quantities of such gear, called personal protective equipment (PPE), domestically and from South Korea and China to meet the shortages.