The dire shortage of N95 masks and N95 respirators came in part due to the biggest N95 mask-making country, China, ceasing N95 mask exportation. China had to face a major loss from the onset of the pandemic, so it had to keep its own people safe with a steady N95 mask supply.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world scrambles for N95 mask stocks to use. Even in the United States, N95 mask shortage became such a big problem that healthcare workers have been forced to reuse possibly contaminated N95 mask supplies with the thought that some protection is better than no virus protection at all.
While the USA has already begun its own N95 mask production, the rest of the world are struggling with domestic N95 mask production. Medical and surgical PPE like face shields, disposable face mask, and reusable face mask are still very much needed in this time of great pandemic.
The most widely popular N95 mask types include 3M 8210, 1860 N95 mask, 3M 8511, and other 3M N95 masks, and even the Chinese counterpart of the N95 mask called the kn95 masks. The N95 mask is seen as the best in quality when it comes to its virus filter efficiency as its antiviral effect can protect the wearer from flu causing viruses in dust and smoke, provided that the right size is worn for its correct uses.
The N95 mask may be used by adults, with special prioritization for healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those at high risk of contracting the COVID-19 illness. The N95 mask may be bought in bulk or wholesale wherever it is available for sale. However, kids may not wear an N95 mask.
N95 Mask restrictions in India
Previously, the Indian government placed restrictions on N95 masks and other PPE exportation along with other medical equipment. The N95 mask exportation restrictions was meant to prevent N95 mask shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the N95 mask exportation restrictions, local N95 mask production capacity increased rapidly. Furthermore, the domestic N95 mask demand was adequately served. As such, N95 mask manufacturers lobbied with the Centre to allow N95 mask exportation, the reason being to enable the generation of greater revenue and counter the decline of business in the apparel industry.
India Starts N95 Mask Exportation
A notification from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, followed by a confirmation from the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal confirms changes in the N95 mask export policy in India.
While India remains at the top 20 countries with the most number of COVID-19 cases, the country began to open up its doors to N95 mask exportation. India is now exporting FFP-2 and N95 mask supplies, or other N95 mask equivalents.
Previously, the N95 mask and its counterparts had been restricted from exportation. Now, the N95 mask supplies from India are freely exportable, according to the notification.
N95 mask manufacturers export millions of N95 mask supplies
With the freedom on the exportation of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the Indian government, N95 mask manufacturers in India can now begin the exportation of medical coveralls. The allowed exportation every month is 5 million N95 mask supplies and up to 2 million medical goggles.
In the meantime though, the exportation of nitrile gloves remains under its prohibition. Meanwhile, face shields can also be exported from India.
Made In India Initiative to boost economic growth
The Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal confirmed the news on Twitter saying that India will begin N95 mask exportation to countries across the world. Goyal revealed the reasons for the N95 mask exportation as opening up the country to investors and improving employment in India during the pandemic.
The initiative of the N95 mask exportation is part of the Make in India initiative. This is a major national program in the country. It was designed to foster investment, innovation, as well as develop skills of the Indian people.
It is expected that the N95 mask exportation will attract investors across the globe. Furthermore, the N95 mask exportation is cited to make the manufacturing sector of India even stronger. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as well as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India spearhead the Make in India efforts.
Furthermore, it is the objective of the Make In India program to eliminate unnecessary laws, regulations, or restrictions that interfere with the bureaucratic process. The Make in India efforts is to make responsive, accountable, and more transparent changes for the Government of India.
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi revealed that the Make In India effort is an invitation to the world to “Come, make in India, manufacture in India, sell anywhere in the world but manufacture here. The Prime Minister revealed that India has skilled, talented, and disciplined people.
The Make in India initiative is 6 years from its initiation on September 25, 2014. Business giants in India were present during the initiation of the program. There are 25 sectors covered by the Make in India initiative.
Apart from the N95 mask manufacturing, other products that increased manufacturing with this effort included food processing, leather, media and entertainment, electrical machinery and electronic systems, oil, gas, and mining, renewable energy products, textiles, and railways, among others.
As the N95 mask has a great demand during the COVID-19 pandemic the whole world is facing, it is expected that the N95 mask exportation will boost the Make In India initiative. The N95 mask quality will tell how well the Indian workforce is and boost the national program.