New Delhi, Apr 04, 2020: As India continues to wage war on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre on Saturday put curbs on exports of diagnostic kits to avoid a shortage of supply. "The export of diagnostic kits (diagnostic or laboratory reagents on a backing, preparation diagnostic or laboratory reagents whether or not on a backing)... is restricted with immediate effect," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
The move would help in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis as these kits are required for testing of patients in the country. Earlier, exports of these products were allowed without any restrictions. Putting them under the restricted category would mean that an exporter will now require a licence from the DGFT for outbound shipments, Zee reported.
India till 4.30 pm (IST) on April 4 recorded a total of 2,902 positive cases and 68 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 183 people have recovered so far.
The curb comes as the nation is observing a 21-day lockdown after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 appealed the masses. The lockdown will end of April 14 midnight.
On March 19, the government had banned export of all ventilators, surgical/disposable masks and textile raw material used for making masks and coveralls. "The export of all ventilators, surgical/disposable masks only, and textile raw material for masks and coveralls only...Has been prohibited, with immediate effect," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had said in a notification.
However, the notification had said that items including gloves, ophthalmic instruments and appliances, surgical blades, gas masks with a chemical absorbent for filtration against poisonous vapour and smoke, and biopsy punch can be freely exported.
India on January 31 had banned the export of all kinds of personal protection equipment (PPE), including clothing and masks used to protect people from air-borne particles. However, on February 26, the government removed eight items, including a certain kind of gas mask and surgical blades, from the list of banned export items.
Stepping up efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, India has banned landing of all international commercial passenger flights from March 22, while PM Modi urged people to stay indoors to stay safe and break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.