New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, April 26, met Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and reviewed the preparations and operations being undertaken by the Armed Forces to deal with the pandemic.
"The CDS briefed the Prime Minister that all medical personnel from armed forces who have retired or taken premature retirement in the last two years are being recalled to work in Covid facilities within proximity of their present place of residence," a PMO release said.
Meanwhile, in a tweet, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said - "All efforts to strengthen India’s fight against the pandemic are on. 318 Philips Oxygen Concentrators on Air India flight from JFK Airport landed at Delhi airport". He also wrote: "Let there be no doubt. We will turn the tide".
Other medical officers who retired earlier have also been requested to make their services available for consultation through medical emergency help lines. The Prime Minister was also informed that all medical officers on staff appointments at Command HQ, Corps HQ, Division HQ & similar HQ of Navy and Air-Force will be employed at hospitals.
The CDS informed the PM that nursing personnel are being employed in large numbers to compliment the doctors at the hospitals. PM Modi was also briefed that oxygen cylinders available with armed forces in various establishments will be released for hospitals. The CDS also said that they are creating medical facilities in large numbers and where possible military medical infrastructure will be made available to civilians.
The PM also reviewed the operations being undertaken by Indian Air Force to transport oxygen and other essentials within India and abroad. PM also discussed with the CDS that Kendriya and Rajya Sainik Welfare Boards and Officers posted in various headquarters in veterans cells may be instructed to coordinate the services of veterans to extend the reach to maximum extent possible including in remote areas. In line with the Prime Minister’s direction of boosting availability of oxygen to hospitals, the PM CARES
Fund has already given approval for allocation of funds for installation of 551 dedicated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generation Plants inside public health facilities in the country.
PM Modi has directed that these plants should be made functional as soon as possible. International efforts have started to help India at this hour of crisis. Cities including national capital delhi have reported critical oxygen shortages amid a devastating surge in Covid cases.
The UK has begun sending ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices.
The US has lifted a ban on sending raw materials abroad, enabling India to make more of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Karnataka imposed 14-day Lockdown commencing from April 27. Delhi has extended its lockdown till May 3. Many overcrowded hospitals have turned patients away. "Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need," tweeted US President Joe Biden.
US NSA Jake Sullivan has spoken to Indian counterpart Ajit Doval about the spike in Covid cases. "The United States stands in solidarity with the people of India and we are deploying more supplies and resources," he said.
Prime Minister Modi also had a phone call on Monday with his Japanese counterpart Suga Yoshihide.
The two leaders discussed the COVID-19 situation in the respective country and exchanged views on various regional and global challenges posed by the pandemic. They highlighted the importance of close India-Japan cooperation to overcome these challenges, such as by working together to create resilient, diversified and trustworthy supply chains.
Both the leaders also laid emphasis on ensuring reliable supply of critical materials and technologies and developing new partnerships in manufacturing and skill development.