India has enough hydroxychloroquine to last entire month: Health ministry
- India has enough HCQ tablets to last an entire month, said health minsitry
- Health ministry official also requested people to not misbehave with frontline healthcare workers
- He also said that rapid Covid-19 tests will soon start in India
The nation has three-times more hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) than required and there are at least 3.28 crore tablets of the anti-malaria drug that will fulfil an entire month’s requirement, said the Union health ministry.
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the health ministry, said the decision to export the drug was taken after considerable evaluation.
The GoM decided to release some of the surplus medicine stock for export purposes, but only after ensuring there is enough for domestic usage.
"A lot of requests of HCQ already there and taking into view domestic stock and requirement and keeping sufficient buffer, a decision was taken by GoM to release some of the surplus medicine for export purposes," Agarwal said.
"Coming week we will require one crore HCQ tablets for domestic use. We have over 3.28 crore. This will complete the entire month’s requirement."
Agarwal also requested people to not misbehave with frontline healthcare workers. His comments came after a few such incidents occurred in parts of the country.
He asked people to not just show gratitude to frontline workers by lighting candles, but also to show it by treating them with respect.
Agarwal then announced that confirmed cases in India have gone up to 6,412 with 678 confirmed cases since yesterday. The death toll has increased to 199 with 33 new deaths.
He also announced that the Rs 15,000 crore sanctioned yesterday will be distributed among states to help hospitals procure equipment and upgrade infrastructure required to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Covid-19 updates from ICMR, MHA, MEA
A Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson present during the conference said a letter has been sent to states to ensure lockdown rules are not violated in the wake of upcoming festivals.
The spokesperson said Union Home Minister Amit Shah has asked BSF personnel posted in border areas to ramp up security and to prevent cross-border movement. They have also been tasked with educating people living in border areas about Covid-19.
An ICMR spokesperson said 16,002 tests were conducted yesterday and just 0.2 per cent of them were found positive. The representative also said that rapid testing will start soon in the country.
A total of 1,44,910 samples have been tested so far, added the spokesperson.
A Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, who was present during the briefing, said India has successfully evacuated 20,743 foreigners from several countries and added that it is an ongoing process.
However, he did not offer any definite answer on Indians stuck abroad due to lockdown situation in most of the countries.
"Let me assure our ambassadors are in regular touch with Indians abroad and they are constantly interacting and providing support," he said.
As Agarwal, he too explained that the decision to export HCQ to some countries was considered by the group of ministers after ensuring sufficient domestic availability.