New Delhi, April 9: The government on Thursday exempted imports of COVID-19 testing kits, face masks, ventilators, surgical masks and PPEs from basic customs duty and health cess, the Ministry of Finance announced. The exemptions will be available up to September 30, 2020. The recent decision has been taken considering the immediate necessity of these items amid coronavirus outbreak. BMC to Procure One Lakh Rapid Test Kits for COVID-19 from South Korea.
"In the context of COVID-19 situation, considering the immediate requirement of ventilators and other items, the Central Government has granted exemption from Basic Customs Duty and Health cess, on the imports of following items: ventilators, face masks, surgical masks, Personal protection equipment (PPE), COVID-19 testing kits. This basic exemption shall be available 30 September 2020," the finance ministry statement said.
— CBIC (@cbic_india) April 9, 2020
According to the Health Ministry's latest update, the coronavirus cases in India reached 5,865. The total active cases are 5,218, while 169 deaths have been reported due to the virus. 478 people have also recovered from the infection.
The 21-day lockdown announced by PM Narendra Modi will end next week but it is likely that government will not lift it in one go. State governments have started sealing cities where the maximum cases have been reported. People in these containment zones are prohibited from stepping out, not even to buy essential items.