BH CORRESPONDENT, New Delhi: India has begun preparing to fight the battle against coronavirus pandemic on a war footing. According to a report in Hindustan Times, more than 8,500 military doctors and support staff are ready to help the government meet the COVID-19 crisis head-on. The armed forces has already freed up 9,000 hospital beds for conoraviurs patients to begin with.
Recently, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a high-level review meeting attended among others by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. General Bipin Rawat told the minister that the armed forces have made more than 9,000 hospital beds available for Covid-19 cases and separate hospitals have been earmarked to exclusively deal with the killer virus.
The armed forces have earmarked 28 service hospitals for managing Covid-19 cases. Also, five hospitals run by the armed forces are equipped to carry out Covid-19 tests and six more would be added to the list soon.
“Over 1,000 evacuees are quarantined at facilities in Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Chennai, Manesar, Hindon and Mumbai. Their quarantine period will end by April 7,” Rawat said during the video conference.
Lieutenant-General Anup Banerji, who heads the Armed Forces Medical Services, said, “Retired health professionals have also been kept in readiness to volunteer their services…Necessary equipment has been procured and dispatched to various hospitals.”
Around 25,000 National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets are also being mobilised to provide necessary local assistance, said a defence ministry release.
Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said the air force had flown 25 tonnes of medical supplies during the last five days. He stressed that critical operational work was being undertaken with all necessary precautions. The essential medical supplies airlifted by the IAF include personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizers, surgical gloves and thermal scanners, apart from medical personnel.
During the video conference, Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh said warships were on standby to extend any assistance required.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief said N99 face masks were being manufactured on a war footing. He said 10,000 masks have already been made and production would soon be raised to 20,000 masks daily. He said 50,000 litres of sanitizers made by DRDO labs have been supplied to various security entities, including Delhi Police. DRDO labs have also supplied 40,000 other face masks to Delhi Police. DRDO has also made arrangements to manufacture 20,000 PPE kits per day.