Wed, 01 Apr 2020

New Delhi [India], Mar 25 (ANI): A high-level meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19, held at Nirman Bhawan on Wednesday under the chairpersonship of Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, discussed on prevention and management of COVID-19.

It also discussed the actions taken so far, current status of social distancing measures as a preventive strategy and the stringent actions to contain the spread of COVID-19 by the states so far, according to an official statement.

GoM was also informed that Gujarat, Assam, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are setting up hospitals dedicated for the management of COVID-19.

The GOM discussed about strengthening capacity of states, which need to devote adequate resources for creating dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, equipping the medical institutes with PPEs, ventilators and other essential equipment.

States have been asked to ensure that essential services and supplies remain open.

These include hospitals, medical shops and establishments engaged in the manufacturing of medicines, vaccines, sanitisers, masks and medical devices, the statement said.

Highlighting the critical importance of social distancing as an effective strategy for prevention of COVID-19 and limiting the spread of the disease, Dr. Harsh Vardhan reiterated his appeal to all those who are in home and facility quarantine about observing it according to the protocol laid down by the Health Ministry, and which is also available at the ministry website.

"As announced by Prime Minister yesterday, the country has been put under lockdown. As part of this lockdown, we need to ensure that within our homes too we practice social distancing," said Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

He further stated that around 64,000 people have arrived from other countries to India since March 21 out of which 8,000 have been put in various quarantine facilities and 56,000 are in home isolation.

"We are fighting an infectious disease. In order to protect ourselves and others, it is highly important that we follow all the protocols, guidelines and directions issued by the government, failing which may lead to legal actions under Section 188 of IPC," he said.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan also reiterated his appeal to everyone to not ostracise doctors and other medical staff who are at the forefront of this health emergency and serving to save us from COVID-19.

"We should also avoid spreading rumours or un-authenticated information," he added.

A total of 118 laboratories have been included in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) network of COVID-19 testing.

GoM was also apprised that Cabinet Secretary has also written letters and conducted video conference with Chief Secretaries, Health Secretaries and DGs of Police and instructed them to enforce implementation of lockdown measures.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, Dr. S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home, Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping and Chemical and Fertilisers and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare were present, along with Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff. (ANI)

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