Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to the chief ministers of all party-ruled states, instructing them to put in place effective response to deal with the spread of novel coronavirus and urging them to lend all possible support to public healthcare responders.
As of now, 31 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been detected so far in India.
"It is critical for the State Government to put in place effective response and preparedness measures. The capacity of public healthcare facilities must be augmented to respond to any potential outbreak," Gandhi said.
"Increased disease surveillance, and strengthening the testing facilities could help early detection and containment," she said. "The State Government must lend all possible support to public health care responders to carry out their duty effectively."
The Congress leader pointed out that the World Health Organization had warned of severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially for frontline health workers, and had estimated that manufacturers must increase production by 40 per cent to meet requirements.
"I urge the State Government to ensure adequate supply of PPE, especially in public healthcare facilities, and initiate effective measures to prevent hoarding and black-marketing," she said. "It is equally important to strengthen the intensive care facilities to meet any potential contingency."
Gandhi said protocols for contact identification must be put in place by the states and quarantine facilities must be set up urgently. She asked the states to consider awareness campaigns, helplines, advisories to avoid public gatherings in view of the deadly disease.