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11 notified labs to test PPE coverall samples; more coming up

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on August 31, 2020 Published on August 31, 2020

With DGFT allowing free exports, total production and testing is expected to rise

To ensure faster and smoother clearance of samples of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) coveralls manufactured in the country, a total of 11 testing laboratories have been notified by the government so far and more such laboratories are coming up, a government official said.

“There are a total of 11 notified testing laboratories equipped to conduct testing and certification of synthetic blood penetration resistance test required for body-coveralls for Covid-19. Another one in Ludhiana is coming up and hopefully the number will grow in the future,” the official told BusinessLine.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has now started issuing licences for ‘body-coveralls for Covid-19’, so no laboratory is now required to issue Unique Certification Code to any PPE coverall manufacturer, said a recent note prepared by the Ministry of Textiles.

“Not only are faster tests happening because of the increased number of laboratories, there is also a lot more vigilance and control on the manufacturers who qualify for production as the BIS has started issuing licences for manufacturers,” the official said.

The 11 notified testing laboratories include one lab each at SITRA- Coimbatore and DRDO, Delhi, two at the Textile Committee, Mumbai, one at the Northern India Textile Research Association, Ghaziabad and six labs of Ordnance Factories distributed all over the country.

“All the above testing laboratories may conduct synthetic blood penetration resistance test of samples of body-coveralls for Covid-19 received from HLL Life care Ltd, BIS or any Government organisation and issue test results,” the Textile Ministry note said.

From near zero in the beginning of the year when the Covid-19 health crisis started, India has ramped up production to over 5 lakh PPE kits a day and there is enough domestic capacity now to increase production further, according to the industry.

The Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), thus, removed the 50 lakh units monthly cap on exports on PPE coveralls on August 25 and made exports free.

In July, India exported 23 lakh PPEs to five countries:the US, the UK, the UAE, Senegal and Slovenia, according to the Health Ministry.

“With faster testing and freedom to accept export orders, PPE manufacturers will now be encouraged to expand production. Testing demand is likely to increase,” the official said.

The Ministry of Textiles is working with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for supply of PPE coveralls and N-95 masks required for use of health professionals in government hospitals, the note said. As on July 31, a total of 1.29 crore PPE kits have been dispatched to HLL Lifecare (the government procurement agency for coveralls), the Textile Ministry note added.

The test standards conform with the WHO guidelines for Covid-19, and PPEs are tested in accordance with ISO 16603 Class 3 and above and are designed to be resistant to passage of any fluid or aerosol particle for complete protection of its user, according to the Textile Ministry.

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Published on August 31, 2020
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