NEW DELHI: Amid scarcity of medical equipment and protective gear for health workers, the Congress has demanded sacking of Union Commerce Minister and Commerce Secretary for allowing export of ventilators, surgical and face masks, raw material for masks/coveralls till March 19.

"This is criminal as our doctors, nurses and patients are facing acute scarcity," said chief Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

"Why was it allowed when the country is facing shortage of such items?" asked Sujrewala.

The party attached the notification issued on March 19 by the Director General of Foreign Trade.

The Congress alleged the government acted when COVID-19 positive cases started rising.

The Congress on Sunday demanded that personal protection equipment (PPEs), such as special masks, gloves, face shields, goggles, head covers, rubber boots and disposable gowns be made available to the health workers to protect them against coronavirus infection.

Only 30,000 ventilators are available for 130 crore population, he said, adding these should be arranged in adequate number. About 95 per cent of ventilators were already under use for patients suffering from other diseases, he added.