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Lockdown period utilised to ramp up country's medical infrastructure: Health Ministry

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Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Union health ministry on Thursday said the period of lockdown has been gainfully utilised to ramp up the health infrastructure", with around 3,027 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and 7,013 care centers being readied across the country to fight the disease.

The announcement came after some media reports questioned the country's preparedness to deal with the highly infectious disease.

"There are reports in a section of the media about some decisions of the government regarding the lockdown implementation and response to COVID-19 management. The period of the lockdown has been gainfully utilised to ramp up the health infrastructure in the country," the ministry said.

As on date, 45,299 people have recovered from coronavirus, taking the country's recovery rate to 40.32 per cent, it said.

More than 2.81 lakh isolation beds, 31,250 ICU beds and 1,09,888 oxygen supported beds have already been identified in dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and health centers. Also, 6,50,930 isolation beds have been readied in COVID-19 care centres, the ministry said.

A total of 26,15,920 samples have been tested and 1,03,532 samples were tested in the last 24 hours through 555 testing labs (391 in the government sector and 164 private labs), the ministry said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in collaboration with the Health Ministry and the National Centre for Disease Control with support from state health departments and key stakeholders, including WHO, India is conducting a community based sero-survey to estimate the prevalence of the coronavirus infection among the Indian population.

The central government has supplied 65.0 lakh personal protective equipment (PPE) coveralls and 101.07 lakh N95 masks to the states.

"Nearly 3 lakh PPE coveralls and N95 masks each are now being manufactured per day by domestic producers. These were not produced in the country earlier," the ministry said in a statement.

In addition, the government is consulting and involving epidemiologists actively at all levels in order to combat COVID-19.

The National Task Force (NTF) for COVID-19 constituted by the ICMR has held 20 meetings since mid March, and has systematically and effectively contributed towards the scientific and technical response to the pandemic, the statement said.

"A team of researchers from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute under the state-run Department of Science and Technology (DST), along with collaborators from IISc Bengaluru have developed a heuristic predictive model for COVID-19 that provides short-term predictions about the evolution of the disease and the medical needs that are generated as a consequence," the ministry said.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and its PSU, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) have announced a COVID-19 Research Consortium Call to support diagnostics, vaccines, novel therapeutics, repurposing of drugs or any other intervention for control of the disease.

Various policy announcements, particularly the Pradhan Manrtri Garib Kalyan Yojana' and Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan', have been made to ameliorate the hardships faced specifically by migrant labourers, street vendors, urban poor, small traders, self-employed people, small farmers among others.

The central government has announced a scheme for migrant workers and urban poor to provide ease of living to them at affordable rent.

Affordable Rental Housing complexes will provide social security and quality life to migrant labourers, urban poor and students, the statement added.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 3,435 and the number of cases to 1,12,359 in the country on Thursday, registering an increase of 132 deaths and 5,609 cases in the last 24 hours.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 21 2020. 19:12 IST