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Rajnath Singh asks Army to be on war footing in Covid battle, provide medical help across states

  
  
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  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has urged the Indian Army to open up its medical facilities for civilians and asked top commanders in states to be in touch with the Chief Ministers to provide assistance in the battle against Covid. (News Agencies)-Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has urged the Indian Army to open up its medical facilities for civilians and asked top commanders in states to be in touch with the Chief Ministers to provide assistance in the battle against Covid. "The defence minister spoke to Army chief Gen MM Naravane and asked him to instruct commanders in state capitals to reach out to chief ministers and provide all possible assistance," said a defence ministry official. Defence secretary Ajay Kumar was also part of the discussions on Monday evening in which the decision was taken. Hospitals run by the Cantonment Boards across the country will be thrown open to civilians living in the areas and also coming from outside the Cantonment zones. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has already started a 250-bed facility in Delhi, which will be increased to 500. The DRDO is also setting up two hospitals in Lucknow, which has become a hotbed of a Covid-19 cases. In addition to these facilities, efforts are on to ensure maximum assistance to civilians as the defence establishment has advanced medical facilities. "The DRDO hospitals being set up may not be enough, considering the surge. Keeping this in mind, all possible help at military medical facilities is being planned," said a defence ministry official.Military hospitals are meant for personnel and families from the armed forces but in these unprecedented times whatever help can be provided to civilians will be done. The DRDO wound up its 1,000-bed facility to treat Covid-19 patients in February but the surging numbers has prompted them to reopen it with 500 beds. All beds are equipped with oxygen and a number of ventilators are also be available. The facility began patient intake on Monday and on the very first day, all 250 beds were occupied. The facility is providing its services free of cost and will have testing and air-conditioning as per WHO standards.
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