Coronavirus: China Running out of Masks, Reaches out to India

Owing to the increasing demand, China has reached out to Indian manufacturers for imports of around 2 million masks.

Health News
2 min read
People queue up to buy face masks at a cosmetics shop in Hong Kong, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. 

As the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spreads fast and the death toll crosses 200 in China, the country is actively taking measures to contain any further losses.

One of the many precautions is the use of N95 masks to prevent human-to-human transmission of the virus, which can be transferred through droplets in sneezes and coughs from infected persons.

With nearly 10,000 individuals affected globally and the WHO declaring it a public health emergency, the demand for these masks is soaring across countries. 

Owing to this increasing demand, China has reached out to Indian manufacturers for imports of around two million masks. “In the last one week, there have been many inquiries, at least 15-20 from many provinces in China including Chengdu,” said Ajay Sahai, director-general, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), as reported by Economic Times.


FIT spoke to J Jayaseelan, Chairman of Indian Drug Manufacturers Association, who said,

“It is true that suppliers from India are being reached out to by companies abroad. But India doesn’t manufacture these masks in high quantities owing to low domestic demand. So now, the demand is exceeding the supplies.”
J Jayaseelan

Abhilash, MD, AM Mediwear, told ANI, "We're getting huge number of orders from Indian exporters who will send masks to China. We've doubled our production."

Indian manufacturers are producing and supplying the masks only after the payment has been received from China in advance, to avoid any sort of risks.

It is interesting to note that India has traditionally imported masks from other countries such as China, Malaysia, and Thailand because it has never manufactured them in bulk.

A report in New Indian Express quotes another supplier who said, “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.”

However, it must be noted that these masks do not offer 100 percent protection, which is why other precautionary measures like maintaining person hygiene must also be taken diligently.

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