The Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 in a meeting on Thursday discussed the containment and management plans for the novel coronavirus, the government said in a statement.
The GoM, headed by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also discussed the actions taken so far by the central and state governments to check the spread of the disease that has claimed 169 lives and infected 5,865 people across the country.
The meeting was attended by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Minister of State for Home, Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Shipping, and Chemical and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey,
Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Vinod K Paul and Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat were also present.
The current status of social distancing measures being implemented to break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus was also taken up at the GoM meeting.
The statement issued by the Union health ministry said that the GoM was informed that all districts have been asked to prepare and strengthen their contingency plans to combat the pandemic.
It said several other measures about strengthening capacity of states, including devoting adequate resources for creating dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, equipping medical institutes with PPE, ventilators and other essential equipment, were also discussed in detail.
States have been asked to identify COVID-19 centres and hospitals, the statement said.
"The GoM also reviewed the testing strategy and availability of testing kits across the country along with the strategy for hotspots and cluster management. The GoM was apprised regarding the adequacy and availability of PPE, masks, ventilators, drugs and other essential equipment against the requirement, the statement said.
The GoM was informed that domestic manufactures have been identified for production of PPE and orders have been placed, itsaid
In addition, order for ventilators has also been placed, the ministry said in the statement.
The members of the GoM was briefed about the number of public and private labs currently testing for COVID-19 along with the number of tests that are being conducted every day through this network of labs.
It also reviewed the status of implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
The GoM expressed satisfaction over the work done by ministries and the Empowered Groups.
Union minister Vardhan reiterated his appeal to everyone to not ostracise doctors and other medical staff who are on the forefront of this health emergency.
"We should also avoid spreading rumours or un-authenticated information. The websites of the health ministry, ICMR, PIB and other central ministries are the authentic sources of information on COVID-19, and these need to be accessed for any information regarding COVID-19 related technical issues, guidelines, advisories and management, he said.
The ministry's website is the authentic and complete source of information for the citizens, states and union territories, hospitals and other stakeholders, Vardhan said.
For technical queries related to COVID-19, emails may be sent at email@example.com, he added.
The health minister said that detailed advisories and guidelines for who should use which type of mask and who should use PPE have been posted on his ministry website, and awareness regarding this is also being created through campaigns.
Vardhan said social distancing and isolation are the most effective social vaccines against COVID-19 and appealed to everyone to follow protocol of personal hygiene and respiratory protocols during the lockdown period.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)