South Asian Insider
India pulls out all stops to combat Covid-19 pandemic
India is currently under a 21-day lockdown to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus which has infected over 650 people so far in the country. (News Agencies) India is pulling out all the stops to fight the coronavirus pandemic by drafting in state-owned facilities and production units and private companies to boost manufacture and supply of medical equipment and setting up quarantine facilities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked Central government ministries to look for innovative ways of using their resources to set up manufacturing of medical equipment like ventilators and scaling up their production to check the spread of coronavirus that has now affected over 650 people in the country and taken more than 10 lives so far. The country is currently under a 21-day lockdown to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also joined the fight against Covid-19. “Some time back DRDO developed a ventilator along with Society for Biometrical Technology (SBMT), its technology has been transferred to the industry. An industry in Mysore is producing the secondary version of that ventilator now,” DRDO chairman D R G Sateesh Reddy said according to ANI. “DRDO scientists are working on the development of many products to tackle Covid_19. Sanitizers developed by us have been distributed to many people. In the last 15-20 days we have supplied more than 20,000 sanitizer bottles to various agencies,” Reddy said.The chief of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said it is ready to act any time. “12 battalions and 50 sub-units deployed across country on standby. 400 personnel geared with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) are present in every battalion. We are ready to act anytime if states need,” ANI quoted NDRF Director General SN Pradhan as saying. The government has tasked the Railways with using its large manufacturing and locomotive production units and workshops for manufacturing essential medical equipment such as ventilators, hospital beds, and stretchers, among others, on a war-footing. Ventilators will be a key determinant in India’s success to keep the mortality rate of Covid-19 patients down if community transmission sets in. India needs around 2.1 ventilators per 10,000 patients to battle the Covid-19 outbreak, according to medical experts. The government has also tapped automobile manufacturers for utilising their manufacturing facilities for production of ventilators. The ministry has written to automakers seeking their help to aid the government. RC Bhargava, Chairman at Maruti Suzuki India Limited, said the carmaker is looking at manufacturing ventilators following a meeting of government representatives. The ministry of railways is also considering using the national transporter’s vast pool of coaches as isolation wards. The textile ministry has set up an emergency control room to monitor production and supply of medical textiles including N-95 mask, body coveralls and melt-blown fabric for healthcare staff. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who chaired a high-level meeting Thursday to review overall preparedness of the defence ministry in containing the spread of coronavirus, asked the armed forces, defence public sector undertakings and other military organisations to provide all possible assistance to civilian authorities in the fight against the pandemic, PTI reported.
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