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Govt to procure 40,000 ventilators in next two months

New Delhi: With the positive cases of COVID-19 rise to 724 on Friday, the government has pulled up its socks to contain the spread of coronavirus as the Centre has decided to procure total 40,000 ventilators in the next two months.

While talking to reporters, joint secretary Lav Aggarwal said, "We have placed orders to a PSU to provide 10,000 ventilators on the earliest basis, while another government-owned firm Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has been told to provide 30,000 additional ventilators in 1-2 months."

"The decision in this regard has been taken keeping in view the shortage of ventilators in states. The government is taking all required measures to increase the availability of ventilators in the country," he said.

"The government has also decided to encourage telemedicine so that needed people will continue to get their treatments from specialised doctors. President Ram Nath Kovind has also held a detailed deliberation with all the Governors, Lt Governors, noted non-government organisations, etc through video-conferencing and discussed several steps to be taken to contain the spread of COVID-19," Aggarwal said.

"The health ministry has also organised a national-level training of trainers by using online platforms to train frontline workers such as ANM, ASHA and Anganwadi workers to handle the cases of COVID-19," he said.

"Besides, the government, with the help of AIIMS, organised a training workshop for doctors on clinical management. The similar training would also be held in a series to create a uniform system for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. It will help in bringing the orientation of both private and government doctors towards clinical management," the health ministry official said.

Healath ministry has said that no resident doctor should be posted at any COVID-19 facility without undergoing the "essential" training module being conducted by hospital infection control teams.

Taking care of about 22 lakh health workers, which include doctors, specialists, nurses, paramedical staff, technicians, safai karamcharis, ward boys, Asha workers, etc, the government has already decided to provide an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh to each healthcare worker treating COVID-19 patients. In the case of any eventuality, the health worker would get Rs 50 lakh as an insurance cover.

"The insurance scheme will be applicable for all hospitals of Central and state governments, wellness centres. On the appeal of the government, about 1.4 lakh companies have also allowed their employees to work from home," he said, adding that a task force has been to ensure the availability of essential items such as PPEs, N-95 masks across the country.

Commenting on the initiatives, health experts have stated that the government is getting ready to face the challenge. "We are still on the safer side as COVID-19 has limited to stage two. Since positive cases are increasing, the government need to be alert mode and for that, they need required medical equipment," the experts said.

"The good news for all is that the recovery rate is also increasing. In the last 48 hours, the recovery rate of COVID-19 positive patients has increased from 7.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent," the experts said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has till now approved as many as 121 governments and 35 private laboratories across India to test samples of potential COVID-19-affected patients.

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