New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday (Fenruary 18) denied report of the shortage of medicines and masks in Indian hospitals, while attending a meeting with industry and trade associations to assess the impact of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) on Indian trade and industry.
The Finance Minister said "is there any report of shortage of medicines/masks in hospitals in India. There is no such report. In fact, there was a demand from those who manufacture medical devices to remove ban on exports."
Notably, the death toll from the COVID-19 epidemic outbreak climbed to 1770 in mainland China and infected more than 70,000 others so far in the country. The virus which was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China, in late December 2019, has spread to more than 20 countries including India.
The viral outbreak comes at a time when the Indian economy is going through a difficult phase and the virus outbreak could make the slowdown worse. Besides, India is dependent on China for a whole lot of sectors such as smartphone, solar cells and modules, TVs and electronics, toys, furniture, computers and cars.