NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday said that the country has 3.28 crore hydroxychloroquine tablets in its stock and a decision has been taken to export some surplus medicines after reviewing the domestic requirement and keeping buffer stocks.
Anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine has emerged as a drug of choice for treating COVID-19, along with antibiotic Azithromycin.
In India, the anti-malaria drug which is also used in some auto-immune diseases, in combination with Azithromycin has been recommended for very sick COVID-19 patient and alone prophylactically for healthcare workers treating novel coronavirus patients and close contacts of positive cases.
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Several countries had requested India for the drug which is the largest manufacturer of the medicine and the first batch of the drug has now been dispatched for some countries.
Authorities on Friday said that the country needs 1 crore tablets till month-end for its own needs, as per the government assessment and it has more than triple that amount.
There has been a rise of 678 COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of novel coronavirus cases to 6,412 and death toll to 199 in the country, said, officials.
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Ministry of External Affairs additional secretary Dammu Ravi said that 20,473 foreign nationals had been evacuated from India till yesterday as per requests by several countries
Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that a total of 16,002 tests were conducted yesterday and 2 per cent of the cases tested positive.
Meanwhile, following a meeting with the state health minister, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said that the global experience so far suggests that it takes 5-6 weeks to flatten the curve of this virus.
'Therefore, people should not lose patience,' he said while also urging states to ensure that the coronavirus lockdown measures are fully enforced.
'I request health ministers of all states to ensure that lockdown is followed 100 per cent in your respective states. If we lag behind in this, it will be difficult for us to win this fight against COVID-19,' he said.