Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan informed that Rs 4,100 crore has been distributed to States to fight the novel Coronavirus outbreak. The Centre on Thursday rolled out 'COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package' worth Rs.15,000 crore to help states with their COVID-19 emergency response and health system preparedness over four years.
In a meeting with State health ministers via video conference, Harsh Vardhan also said that it will take another three weeks to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak. "We are in the third week of the nationwide lockdown but it takes this much time to flatten the curve. Epidemiologists say it'll take three-four weeks to flatten the curve."
सीधा प्रसारण !! #COVID19 को लेकर केंद्रीय स्वास्थ्य मंत्री, डॉ हर्ष वर्धन की वीडियो कॉन्फ्रेंसिंग के जरिए राज्य के स्वास्थ्य मंत्रियों व केंद्र शासित प्रदेशों के उपराज्यपालों व स्वास्थ्य अधिकारियों के साथ समीक्षा बैठक https://t.co/HG99tN97zl— DrHarshVardhanOffice (@DrHVoffice) April 10, 2020
The Minister said that protective gear like PPEs and N95 masks are only required for medical professionals who works in hospitals and ordinary people can make use of regular clot and homemade masks.
"There are clear guidelines for PPEs. We have supplied as many kits as we could. Over 39,000 PPEs are available and we will be transporting it to States through dedicated flights. The Centre has also ordered testing kits which will be available to all States once the cargo comes."
He also informed that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has set up labs but utilisation is not being done as expected. He asked people to give feedback to the Ministry and ICMR. The minister also told people to refer to the Health Ministry's website to access information and updated guidelines and advisories.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also expressed displeasure over some States not sharing COVID-19 related reports with the Centre saying the lack of information exchange can hamper efforts to combat the outbreak. "We are getting reports that some states are not sharing COVID reports with the Centre. I don't want to take the name of states but I will urge them to share the information and deatils of COVID cases to better deal with the situation."
The minister also lauded efforts of state health authorities and frontline healthcare workers for their dedicated mission to contain the outbreak saying that he appreciates the officials' sincerity towards combating the pandemic. "States are doing the best to contain the viral spread. Their sincere efforts are very impressive."
India has so far recorded 5,709 Coronavirus cases while 503 patients have recovered. 199 people have died of the infection. Maharashtra has the highest number of cases (1364) and casualties (97) in the country. The health ministry has so far denied that the country has entered the stage of community transmission of the virus.