COVID-19: Govt says no shortage of hydroxychloroquine drug in India

6,761 cases have been reported in the country so far, including 206 deaths, as per the health ministry

An SDRF official sprays disinfectant at a residential area in Guwahati | PTI Photo

India has surplus stock of hydroxychloroquine, said the Union Health Ministry on Friday (April 10) in a bid to allay fears that the country might run out of stock if it keeps exporting the drug to other countries amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had earlier recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure for healthcare workers dealing with confirmed coronavirus cases and those taking care of positive patients.

In its regular evening briefing on Friday, health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal reasserted there has been no community transmission in the country yet and that there is no need to panic.

Interactive: Know the coronavirus stats here


“We have a domestic requirement of one crore hydroxychloroquine tablets while we have 3.28 crore of those available now,” he said. He said the challenge today is not local or community transmission “but whether we are taking all the precautionary and containment measures.”

Meanwhile, a foreign ministry official said there several countries have made requests regarding hydroxychloroquine. He further said that India has evacuated 20,473 foreigners as of Thursday and that it is receiving excellent cooperation.

“Taking into view the domestic necessities and keeping a sufficient buffer for our own requirement, a decision was taken by a group of ministers to release some of the surplus medicine for export purposes,” said MEA official Dammu Ravi.

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As of 5 PM on Friday, 6,761 positive cases of COVID-19 have been found in the country, including 206 deaths and 515 cured or discharged cases, according to the Union health ministry website.

On Thursday, the health ministry official said, 16,002 tests were conducted, of which only 2 per cent cases were found positive. “On the basis of the samples collected, the infection rate is not high,” said Agarwal, adding rapid diagnostics kits have also been sanctioned.

In view of the ensuing festivals this month, home ministry joint secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said that all states and union territories have been directed to ensure strict compliance of the lockdown measures to fight the pandemic.