New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Indian Army medical teams were rushed to the quarantine centre in Delhi's Narela area on Friday where some of the Covid-19 positive Tablighi Jamaat workers are being kept. This the first time the army has been deployed to assist the civil administration in Delhi in the fight against coronavirus.
During a review meeting on April 1 over preparedness to combat Covid-19, army chief, Gen M.M. Naravane had also informed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that more than 8,500 doctors and support staff are available to extend necessary assistance to the civil administration.
In Narela, the unoccupied Delhi Development Authority (DDA) flats were converted into quarantine centres last month after Indians were repatriated from various nations as coronavirus spread.
Two medical teams with support staff were rushed to Narela after the authorities looking after the quarantine centre made a requisition to the Ministry of Defence. “With the medical team and support staff, a small protective group of soldiers also went to the centre for logistic support. It is done as per standard operating procedure,” said army sources.
Sources said that Covid-19 positive Tablighi Jamaat workers, who are quarantined at the centre, are also creating problems over which they are now counselled regularly about the deadly virus.
So far, now six quarantine facilities at Mumbai, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Hindon, Manesar and Chennai are being run by the armed forces. A total of 1,737 persons have been handled, of which 403 have been released and balance are still in quarantine.
In addition, 15 other facilities catering to a total of approximately 7,000 capacity are being kept ready as standby for use, if required.
Out of these, six army facilities at Babina, Jhansi, Barmer, Bhopal, Kolkata and Binnaguri on standby, as well as six Indian Air Force facilities at Bhatinda, Hyderabad, Deolali, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Agra, and three Indian Navy facilities at Vizag, Kochi and Chilka.
“Dedicated Covid facilities including High Dependency Units (scaled-down version of an ICU) and ICUs are being prepared in approximately 51 Armed Forces hospitals across the length and breadth of the country,” the army said.
To assist in the transportation of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment within the country, the IAF's transport fleet is being used, and so far, approximately 60 tonnes of stores have been airlifted to various parts of the country. As many as 30 fixed-wing aircraft and 28 helicopters are on standby.
Viral Testing Labs at Armed Forces hospitals located at Udhampur, Lucknow, New Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru have been activated as part of the national viral testing grid, while all armed Forces units at the local level are coordinating with civilian authorities to enhance COVID preparedness levels.
A medical team of five doctors, two nursing officers and seven paramedics were deployed in the Maldives from March 13 to March 21, 2020. The team was basically deployed in an advisory role to assist the Male government to set up its domestic Covid protection measures.
Six Naval ships loaded with medical teams and HADR storess are kept on standby for assistance at Vizag, Kochi and Mumbai to respond any requests from littoral neighbouring countries like Maldives, Srilanka and Bangladesh.
“Five medical teams are standby for deployed in Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan,” the armed forces added.