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Use of technology integral for Covid-19 containment strategy: Harsh Vardhan

The GoM was informed that close to 90 million users had downloaded the Aarogya Setu app as on May 4

Coronavirus | Health Ministry | Domestic industry

Agencies  |  New Delhi 

Medics in protective suits are seen in a containment zone during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in Aligarh, Saturday, May 2, 2020. (PTI Photo)
Medics in protective suits are seen in a containment zone during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in Aligarh, Saturday, May 2, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Domestic manufacturers have reached the capacity of producing nearly 250,000 PPE and 200,000 N-95 masks per day which is sufficient to meet the country's requirement in dealing with the novel pandemic in the near future, the Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 has been informed.

The GoM, which held its 14th meeting under the chairmanship of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday, discussed various aspects pertaining to the performance, impact and benefits of the Aarogya Setu app, agency PTI reported.

It also highlighted the need for ensuring stringent measures for quality control of personal protection equipment (PPE), masks, ventilators among others.

The GoM was informed that close to 90 million users had downloaded the Aarogya Setu app as on May 4.

"People have informed about their health status on the application which has helped in tracing those suffering with any symptoms for Covid-19 containment, a statement from the said.

The GoM was also informed that a mechanism has been devised to reach out to the people who have landline or featured phones through Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) in local languages for better results," it said.

Vardhan said the use of technology is integral for the containment strategy and is helping the states to manage the deadly disease in a more effective manner.

Random batch sampling for ensuring compliance and adherence to quality standards was also stressed upon by the GoM, the statement said.

It said a detailed presentation on the present status of Covid-19 cases globally and within the country was made to the GoM, and states were asked to follow and further strengthen their contingency plans to combat the infection on the basis of classification of districts.

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Several other measures about strengthening capacity of states, including devoting adequate resources for creating dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, equipping medical institutions with adequate number of PPE, ventilators and other essential equipment, were also discussed at the meeting.

The GoM was apprised that the death rate of Covid-19 patients is around 3.2 per cent, while the recovery rate is more than 25 per cent, which may be taken as a positive effect of the lockdown in the country along with the cluster management and containment strategy, the statement said.

The GoM was also informed that genome sequencing of strains of the novel isolated from patients in different parts of the country has been initiated.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, chairman of the Empowered Group -11 informed the GoM that they are monitoring and supervising the strategic issues arriving out of the measures taken so far in containing the pandemic.

He also apprised the GoM that at different stages during the lockdown, decisions on graded liberalisation were taken after consultations with stakeholders, cutting across various ministries and other Empowered Groups, the statement said.

A presentation was made by Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY, and chairman of Empowered Group-9, dealing with technology solutions and data management for combating Covid-19, the statement said.

The GoM was also told that under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) as on May 4, 2.9 miilion MT of foodgrain has been distributed to 587 million beneficiaries by 36 states/UTs as first month (April) entitlement.

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A total of 0.5 million MT of foodgrain has been distributed to 116.3 million beneficiaries by 20 states and UTs as second month (May) entitlement so far, the statement said.

In total, 6.60 million MT food grain has been lifted by 36 states and UTs from the Food Corporation of India so far, it said.

An amount of Rs 68.68 billion has been transferred to Ujjwala (PMUY) beneficiaries. Also, 49.8 million PMUY cylinders have been booked and 47.2 million have been delivered during April-May.

Financial sanction for 81.8 million beneficiaries (farmers) at Rs 2,000 each has been generated during 2020-21 and Rs 163.64 billion crore have been released under DBT cash transfers to farmers during the same period, the statement added.

As support for senior citizens, widows and divyang', the first installment of funds at Rs 500 per beneficiary has been released to 28.1 million accounts of eligible beneficiaries, amounting to Rs 14.05 billion. The next installment of Rs 500 will go in the second fortnight, the statement said.

As on date, 200 million Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana accounts of women are being credited with Rs 500 per account as cash transfers under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyana Package ( PMGKP). Besides, 0.9 million members of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had availed the facility of online withdrawal amounting to Rs 28.95 billion, it added.

First Published: Wed, May 06 2020. 12:15 IST