Health Ministry: Comfortably placed on the ventilator front

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 30, 2020

Workers of Southern Railway install beds inside a train coach, in Chennai, on Monday. The Southern Railway zone is converting coaches into isolation wards to accommodate patients in case the Covid-19 outbreak takes a serious turn   -  R Senthil Kumar

Confirmed Covid-19 cases rise to 1,071

Fewer than 20 Covid-19 patients are on ventilator support at this moment, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has stated.

“As against this, over 14,000 ventilators have been identified in various hospitals across the country for treatment of Covid-19 patients,” the Ministry said in a statement.

As on date, India has recorded 1,071 Covid-19 cases, of which 100 have been cured, and 29 have died.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry, said India’s tally has touched 1,000 cases in about 12 days from the day 100 cases were recorded. “So we think we are getting positive results, but it is a daily battle and we should not let our guard down,” Agarwal said.

Agva Healthcare, a domestic manufacturer in Noida, has been able to develop ventilators and, so far, has an order for 10,000. Supplies are expected by the second week of April. Another order for 30,000 ventilators has been placed with Bharat Electronics Ltd, which plans to tie-up with domestic manufacturers. Auto manufacturers are also preparing to make these devices.

International companies such as Hamilton, Mindray and Draeger have also been asked to supply devices. The Ministry of External Affairs is approaching suppliers in China for sourcing 10,000 ventilators, the Health Ministry stated.

Shortage of protective gear

Addressing concerns over acute shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), the Ministry said orders for 21 lakh PPE coveralls have been placed with 11 domestic manufacturers that had cleared quality tests. “Currently, they are supplying 6,000-7,000 coveralls per day and this is expected to go up to 15,000 per day within the next week. One more manufacturer has qualified today and an order for five-lakh coveralls has been placed with him,” the Ministry stated.

As of now, 3.34 lakh PPEs are available in hospitals across the country. About 60,000 PPE kits have already been supplied by the Government. The Indian Red Cross Society has arranged for 10,000 PPEs from China, which are being distributed. An order for three lakh PPEs has been placed with the Ordnance Factories.

Private lab testing

While over 38,000 suspected Covid-19 samples have been tested in government set-ups, private labs have been roped in for testing over 1,300 samples, said R Gangakhedkar, Head, Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with representatives of social welfare organisations that have pledged their workforce for tackling Covid-19 and earmarked funds to Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations fund.

Published on March 30, 2020

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