English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Indian defence forces mount riposte against Covid second wave

Health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan inspecting the addition of 500 oxygenated beds at the Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre and Hospital, in Chhatarpur, New Delhi on Saturday evening (Image courtesy: PIB)

India's armed forces have stepped up the fightback against the ongoing Covid pandemic by extending all possible assistance to the civilian administration to tide over the calamity.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday reviewed the efforts of the Ministry of Defence and the three Services to fight the current crisis through a video conference. The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and various other senior officials including Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G Sathish Reddy.

He reviewed and expressed satisfaction on the assistance being provided by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in moving oxygen tankers and plants from abroad as well as within the country. He was briefed about the C-17 IAF transport planes engaged in transporting oxygen containers from Singapore, Pune, Jamnagar and Jodhpur. One Chinook airlifted medical equipment for testing Covid from Jammu to Leh.

Indian Navy ships too have been put on standby for any assistance in moving oxygen tankers.

In Gujarat, DRDO has completed setting up of a 1,000-bed hospital. Work is also going on in full swing to establish a Covid facility in Lucknow that would become operational in the next 5-6 days. These hospitals would be run by army doctors in coordination and with assistance from local state governments.

Senior officials of MoD are in constant touch with the officials of state governments for necessary coordination. As doctors from the armed forces are already overburdened, services of local doctors and health professionals might be enlisted for the 750-bed hospital that is coming up at Varanasi. To augment the work force of health professionals, Singh has approved a suggestion to deploy those who have recently retired from the Armed Force Medical Services (AFMS).

AFMS deploys more manpower at Delhi facility

The AFMS has deployed additional doctors, including specialists, super specialists and paramedics, at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) Covid hospital in Delhi to cater to the current surge in Covid-19 cases.

The facility was reopened on April 19 with a provision of 250 beds, all of which were occupied within two hours of opening owing to the enormous surge in Covid cases in Delhi. All the patients were critical and oxygen dependent.

The DRDO chairman said today that another 250 beds would become functional at the hospital by Saturday evening, taking the total number of beds to 500.

As against 294 doctors and health workers in 2020, 378 have been mobilised at the facility this time. These include 164 doctors in 2021 as against 132 doctors in 2020. Last year, only 18 specialists were mobilised, as against 43 specialists and 17 super specialists this year.

The manpower mobilisation accomplished at a short notice of three days has been deployed from the already stretched resources at the service hospitals.