Covid: Armed forces recall ex-medicos; govt wants wearing of masks at home

General Rawat told PM Modi at the review meeting that all medical officers on staff appointments at the military headquarters will be deployed at hospitals
With the country witnessing a storm surge in coronavirus infections, the government has suggested wearing masks at home, especially when people are around and surely when there’s a Covid-19 patient nearby. 

“The time has come (for everyone) to start wearing masks at home. We used to say wear it outside but the way the infections are, it will be useful to wear a mask when sitting with someone at home; definitely wear it if someone is positive,” said V K Paul, member-health, Niti Aayog, while addressing a press briefing on Covid-19 situation in the country on Monday. 

If wearing mask at home was a new recommendation from the government in view of the current crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting with the armed forces also revealed unusual measures. After the meeting, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the armed forces had recalled all medical personnel who retired in the last two years to work in Covid facilities near their residence. 

Armed forces are also creating military medical infrastructure to be made available to civilians.

The chief of defence staff General Bipin Chandra Rawat informed the PM that nursing personnel were being employed in large numbers to complement the doctors in hospitals and that the oxygen cylinders available with armed forces would also be released for hospitals.

In the backdrop of continued oxygen shortage, the government asked citizens not to panic. “There’s adequate quantity of oxygen but the challenge is to transport it. States are working together shoulder to shoulder with industry, transporters and suppliers to minimise transportation time,” said Piyush Goyal, additional secretary, ministry of home affairs.  

Medical oxygen production in the country stood at 9,103 tonnes on April 24, up from the earlier capacity of 7,259 tonnes per day. While calling for judicious use of oxygen, the government has instructed state governments to ensure that liquid medical oxygen is not given for industrial use, so that it’s available to patients. States have also been asked to convert nitrogen and argon tankers for oxygen use. “We are getting tankers from other countries as well. We are trying to mobilise as many tankers as possible quickly by airlifting empty containers,” Goyal said.

The railway ministry has deployed 2,670 Covid care beds across nine stations in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

India is registering almost four times the daily number of cases it witnessed during the first peak of September, crossing 3,50,000 infections in a single day. The health ministry however pointed at a rise in the number of recoveries--over 82 per cent of the patients have been cured so far.

Most states are seeing almost three to five times the number of daily cases in the second wave compared to the first.

On the shortage of RT-PCR tests and delays in results, Randeep Guleria, director, AIIMS Delhi, said any clinical diagnosis of the patient was important based on other reports such as chest CT, blood reports and symptoms under current circumstances. “Seeing the way cases are rising, such patients should get Covid treatment and people should not wait for a report to come to isolate themselves,” Guleria said. 

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel