Covid-19: Healthcare workers resort to using helmets and raincoats as protective gear amid PPE shortage

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 31, 2020 Published on March 31, 2020

A doctor wearing a torn raincoat stands at the major coronavirus disease treatment facility amid concerns about the spread of the disease in Kolkata, on March 26, 2020.   -  REUTERS

Healthcare workers in India are resorting to using raincoats and helmets as protective gears owing to shortages of protective health gear amid the coronavirus pandemic in the country, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Medical professionals across hospitals are finding alternatives such as raincoats and motorbike helmets as alternatives to protective gear as the number of COVID-19 cases surge in the country. Frontliners are forced to combat the COVID-19 pandemic without proper personal protective equipment (PPE) due to shortage.

For instance, junior doctors at a major coronavirus treatment facility in Kolkata - the Beleghata Infectious Disease Hospital were given plastic raincoats last week while they were to examine patients. The photographs of the same had been published on social media sites and had been reviewed by Reuters.

According to the report, a doctor in Haryana, Dr Sandeep Garg of ESI Hospital had said that he had been using a motorbike helmet as protective gear. The visor along with a surgical mask can help protect him against the virus as the hospital lacked N95 masks, it said.

The Union Health Ministry on Monday had said that they would be importing personal protective equipment (PPE) in bulk from countries including China, Singapore and South Korea apart from manufacturing it domestically as well.

“3.34 lakh PPE coveralls are available with hospitals in the country. Another 3 lakh donated coveralls being received from abroad by 4th April,” the Ministry had tweeted.

“11 domestic producers of #PPE PPE coveralls have qualified so far, and orders for 21 lakh have been placed on them. They are supplying 6-7,000 pieces per day and are expected to go up to 15,000 per day by mid-April,” it further said.

PPEs have also been donated by major healthcare institutions such as the Red Cross.

Last week, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said that the dire need of protective gear for healthcare workers across the globe is one of the most urgent threats in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“The chronic global shortage of personal protective equipment is now one of the most urgent threats to our collective ability to save lives,” the WHO chief had said at a press briefing.

India has reported over 1200 cases of COVID-19 so far according to the Union Health Ministry.

Published on March 31, 2020

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