Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, to meet the rising demand for oxygen supply, the government on Friday said it has included import of oxygen concentrators for personal use, including those purchased from e-commerce portals, through post or courier, in the list of exempted categories, where customs clearance is sought as gifts.

The exemption for oxygen concentrators is allowed only for a period till July 31, 2021, for personal use, according to a notification of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that concentrates oxygen from ambient air. It is in high demand due to increasing COVID-19 cases in the country. These concentrators capture and filter the air, unlike oxygen cylinders which can only store a fixed amount of oxygen.

“Import of goods, including those purchased from e-commerce portals, through post or courier, where customs clearance is sought as gifts, is prohibited except for life saving drugs / medicines/ oxygen concentrators and rakhi (but not gifts related to rakhi),” the notification said.

Imports of medical devices have been permitted subject to a condition that importers will make all declarations (by way of stamping or putting stickers or online printing) required under the Rules immediately after import/custom clearance and before sale of such products in the domestic market, the order said.

Importers have been asked to inform the quantity of imported medical devices to state governments where import is made, immediately after the shipment, it added.

Earlier, oxygen concentrators were not mentioned in the list. Now it has been added on account of the crippling demand due to COVID-19 cases.