New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation on novel coronavirus (COVID 19) and actions taken so far by various Ministries. The meeting was attended by Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare; S Jaishankar, Union Minister of External Affairs; Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister for State, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary; Vinod K Paul, Member NITI Aayog; General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff; and Secretaries of Health, Pharma, Civil Aviation, External Affairs, Health Research, Home, Shipping, and other officials.
Secretary, Health and Family Welfare made a presentation on the current scenario and action taken by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and other supporting Ministries with respect to preparedness and response to COVID 19. The presentation emphasized on the core areas of surveillance at point of entry and community, laboratory support, hospital preparedness, logistics and risk communication.
Secretary, Department of Pharma conveyed about the availability of sufficient stocks of medicines, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and other consumables for use in India.
Issues related to need for vigils at all airports, seaports and land border crossings, community-level surveillance as per protocol, and ensuring the availability of sufficient beds for isolation was discussed. Vardhan emphasized the need for effective coordination with states for a timely response and increasing surge capacity for hospitalization.
The request obtained for the evacuation of Indians from Iran was highlighted. Officials were instructed to plan for early testing and evacuation of Indians from Iran.
The Prime Minister while complimenting all departments for the work taken up so far, mentioned that India has to be prepared in its response as per the evolving scenario. All departments should work in convergence and action shall be initiated for creating awareness in the community about the disease and the precautions to be taken. He exhorted the officers to identify best practices for COVID-19 management from across the world and within the states and ensure their adoption.
Modi noted that keeping in view of the opinion of experts, people should be advised to avoid mass gatherings as far as possible and be made aware of dos and don’ts. He directed that an immediate exercise be taken up to identify sufficient locations for quarantine and also for critical care provisioning in case the disease spread. He highlighted the need for advance and adequate planning and timely response as critical for managing this infectious disease from a public health perspective.
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