China reaches out to India for N95 masks to tackle Coronavirus outbreak

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, China is running out of masks and turning to Indian suppliers to replenish stock

Published: 28th January 2020 06:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2020 09:09 AM   |  A+A-

The mysterious outbreak of novel coronavirus was first reported earlier this month in Wuhan

The mysterious outbreak of novel coronavirus was first reported earlier this month in Wuhan. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: China is running out of the N95 masks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus and Chinese firms are looking to drug and surgical item manufacturers in India to replenish stock.

Speaking to Express, J Jayaseelan, Chairman of Indian Drug Manufacturers Association, said, “Companies from China are approaching suppliers from India, including Tamil Nadu, for N95 masks through multiple sources. The dealers here are ready to manufacture and supply once dealers from China pay advance and place a clear order. Tomorrow, the need might come down, so the manufacturers don’t want to take a risk.”

“Basically, the N95 masks are manufactured in low numbers because of poor demand. Unlike regular surgical masks, N95 masks are used in the operation theatre and also during severe respiratory illness and during epidemic infections,” Jayaseelan added.

A health department official said,” The irony is that a large quantity of masks are imported from China and there are only few manufacturers in India as there is less usage.

But, now since there is an outbreak in China, they ran out of stock and are reaching out to dealers here.”

Jayaseelan said, “However, to manufacture N95 masks, the manufacturers don’t need any special permission or patent, any regular surgical masks manufacturer can make them.”

Meanwhile, another mask supplier told Express, “After the outbreak of coronavirus the demand has increased and more dealers from China are approaching us. Not only from Tamil Nadu, we are getting orders from other States also,” he said.

Meanwhile, State health department officials said there was adequate stock.”We have over one lakh N95 masks,” a health department official said.

Why n95?

  • N95 mask is a protective device that would, if used correctly, prevent contracting any aerosol, droplet borne, air-borne infection.

  • N95 mask blocks 95% of very small, 0.3 micron particles.

  • It should have been evaluated, tested, certified and approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as per the minimum performance requirements.

  • N95: N stands for NIOSH and 95 for a minimum of 95% filtration efficiency of 0.3-micron small particles aerosols and large droplets.

  • Source: The Directorate of Public Health Department.


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