Hindustan Times (Jammu)

Plastic manufactur­ers set to make PPE kits as Covid cases go up in UP

- HT Correspond­ent letters@ htlive. com

Manufactur­ers of single use plastic items in Uttar Pradesh have decided to begin manufactur­ing of personal protective equipment ( PPE) for health workers in an effort to tackle the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak. The associatio­n has also written to the state government regarding the same.

PPE that includes full body suit, masks, visors, gloves and face protectors are used primarily by the health officials handling Covid-19 cases in hospitals. PPE resources are reportedly under strain because of a recent spurt in number of Covid-19 cases in the state.

“We have machines which are used in thermo forming. They can be used for producing PPE equipments, especially single use face protectors by making a few changes. We manufactur­ed the PPE kits last year also for some time and have decided to repeat it again considerin­g the rise in number of cases,” said Pramod Kumar, head of Uttar Pradesh Thermoform­ing associatio­n.

The associatio­n has over 200 members from across the state who manufactur­ers single use plastic items like cups glasses and other items of disposable cutlery.

“We have approached engineers to help us in making changes in the machine. Once this is done, we can train our staff and begin production,” Kumar said. He claimed that they would be able to manufactur­e over 10,000 units of face protectors and PPE kits within a week.

Face protectors are worn by medical experts over the mask. It is made by a sheet of clear plastic and protects the entire face from infection.

Since last year more than a 100 small firms across the state have come up to manufactur­e items of PPE for medical experts. However, many of these had to close operations later last year when Covid-19 cases went down. Beside the face protectors, Pramod said that the firms could also make disposable masks and shoe covers.

“Most of the thermo forming units are located in district close to Delhi, Kanpur and Lucknow. This will help us to easily deliver these items across the state,” Kumar said.

According to experts, availabili­ty of PPE kits will play a crucial role in the ongoing fight against Covid- 19 infection. “PPEs are essential to protect doctors and other health workers from getting infected while treating coronaviru­s patients. No availabili­ty of PPE will risk the life of health workers in damage and will crash the medical infrastruc­ture. So, we need to ensure sufficient number of PPEs for our doctors, to have an upper hand against Covid-19,” said Nikhil Raina, an expert in epidemiolo­gy.

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