India seeks 38 million masks as coronavirus crisis worsens

India is joining the global hunt for medical supplies as the coronavirus crisis there worsens, with officials seeking more than 38 million masks and 6.2 million pieces of personal protective equipment.

Indian officials have sought supplies from “hundreds” of companies, according to a report by the country’s investment agency and obtained by Reuters.

The document shows authorities reached out to 730 firms for ventilators, ICU monitors, protective equipment, masks and testing kits.

But the supply shortage could be far greater, as the report covers only a fraction of India’s states and territories.

The world’s second-largest country, India, has 873 confirmed cases and 19 deaths. Many of its 1.3 billion citizens have underlying health conditions known to exacerbate the virus.

About a third of its population are hypertensive and more than 10 percent of adults are diabetic, along with high rates of smoking and pneumonia and poor air quality, according to the New York Times. 

India is four days into a three-week lockdown ordered Tuesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which sent migrant workers fleeing the capital of New Delhi.

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