The consignment includes part of the large orders placed by India for medical supplies and equipment with Chinese firms, the people familiar with developments said.
A consignment of 5,50,000 antibody testing kits and 100,000 RNA extraction kits was dispatched by Chinese firms to India on Thursday morning for use in the country’s efforts to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19, people familiar with developments said.
The consignment includes part of the large orders placed by India for medical supplies and equipment with Chinese firms, the people said.
The external affairs ministry has been playing a key role in coordinating the government’s efforts to acquire vital medical supplies from other countries, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.
“As part of these efforts, the first lot of 3,00,000 rapid antibody testing kits from Guangzhou Wondfo and another 2,50,000 from Zhuhai Livzon and 1,00,000 RNA extraction kits from MGI Shenzhen were custom cleared late on Wednesday night,” said one of the people cited above.
“The consignment left this (Thursday) morning for India,” the person said. “The total of 6,50,000 kits is on the way and should reach today (Thursday).”
The Indian embassy in Beijing and the consulate in Guangzhou played a key role in the despatch of the medical equipment.
On Tuesday, India’s ambassador to China, Vikram Misri, had told reporters that facilitating India’s imports of Covid-19-related critical medical equipment and keeping the drug production supply chain open would be the “best” signal from China for bilateral ties.
Chinese companies have been contracted for nearly 15 million personal protective equipment (PPE) kits comprising gowns, gloves, masks and goggles, and 1.5 million rapid testing kits for Covid-19 by the Indian government and private companies, he said.
India has asked China to speed up the export of a large quantity of quality-checked medical equipment such as protective clothing, ventilators and testing kits from Chinese companies. India is also in communication with China on keeping the supply line of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) open for manufacturing generic drugs, Misri added.
In a separate development, India supplied half million hydroxychloroquine tablets and 12 tonnes of life-saving medicines to Mauritius late on Wednesday.
This was the first consignment of Covid-19-related medical supplies provided by India to Mauritius. The country’s vice prime minister, Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, received the consignment that was carried in a special Air India cargo flight.
India has so far cleared supplies of hydroxychloroquine to 13 countries, either as humanitarian aid or as commercial sales. Several neighbouring countries are being provided the drug as part of humanitarian aid.