Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked the armed forces and other defence units to provide all assistance to civilian authorities in the fight against COVID19.
In a review meeting with senior officials of the Ministry, Rajnath Singh lauded the proactive role played by armed forces in providing quarantine facilities and the evacuation of Indian nationals from abroad.
While defence labs and production units have manufactured sanitisers and masks to the demands of various civil authorities, arms production units have ramped up output of body suits, ventilators. The Indian Air Force has also assisted in the evacuation of Indian nationals from pandemic-hit countries such as China and Iran.
According to media reports, there are around 100,000 ventilators in the country, while the demand is around 2.1 ventilators per 10,000 patients during the current medical emergency. Similarly, there is also a shortage of protective gears for medical personnel.
Meanwhile, the minister has asked the Indian Army to identify additional infrastructure to set up isolation centres; expand hospital and lab facilities in the worst-hit places and to increase medical personnel in severely affected areas.
At the quarantine facilities set up by the armed forces in states such as Haryana (Manesar) and Rajasthan (Jaisalmer) 1,073 people are already receiving care. Additional capacity of quarantine facilities with 950 beds have been kept ready.
The Indian Army had already announced restricted movements in cantonments, formations and units throughout the country. “Only bare essential sections/offices to function on a daily basis. Work from home to be implemented. Routine meetings and movements to be restricted,” the army's instructions read.
Indian currently has 649 active cases of COVID-19 (including foreign nationals), while 13 people have succumbed to the viral infection.
India is in a complete lockdown mode for 21 days in an attempt to break the cycle of infection of the virus.