India on Friday banned exports of all kinds of personal protection equipment, including clothing and masks used to protect people from air borne particles.
The move assumes significance as there could be a spurt in demand for such products due to outbreak of deadly coronavirus that has claimed more than 200 lives in China while the number of confirmed cases reached near 10,000.
"Exports of all varieties of personal protection equipment including clothing and masks used to protect the wearer from air borne particles and/or any other respiratory masks or any other personal protective clothing (including coveralls and N95 masks)...is hereby prohibited with immediate effect till further orders," the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
Air India's 423-seater jumbo B747 plane took off from the Delhi airport on Friday to evacuate Indian nationals from Wuhan as China deals with the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Around 400 Indians are expected to be evacuated.
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Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani said on Friday morning, "No service will take place in the plane. Whatever food is there will be kept in seat pockets. As there will be no service, there will be no interaction (between cabin crew and passengers)."
"Masks have been arranged for the crew and passengers. For our crew, we have also arranged a complete protective gear," he added.
The government has reached out to over 600 Indians living in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, to ascertain their willingness to be brought back to India.
In a separate notification, the DGFT has also banned imports of stock lot papers.
These are kind of discarded, improper sized and unused papers.The move aims at cutting down imports of non-essential items into the country.