The armed forces have been on the forefront in this war against COVID-19 whether it was airlifting critical materials needed for the quarantine facilities, or taking care of those who have been evacuated from various countries across the globe.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh urges the Defence PSUs and other related agencies to gear up their preparedness and to join hands in providing all assistance required by the civilian authorities. The minister along with other stakeholders had a high-level review meeting on the action plan of Ministry of Defence to deal with COVID-19. Those present besides the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat included the three chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were present. Also in the meeting Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and Chairman of DRDO were present.
The armed forces have been on the forefront in this war against COVID-19 whether it was airlifting critical materials needed for the quarantine facilities, or taking care of those who have been evacuated from various countries across the globe. The three services have also been trained to take care of their own personnel when needed.
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On day of the 21 Day Lock-down period, the Indian Army facility located in Jodhpur received 277 evacuees from Iran. Amongst those evacuated from Iran, there were 273 pilgrims and there 149 women & six children.
“The evacuees were airlifted from Delhi to Jodhpur on board Air India Flights and were screened at the airport. They were then moved to the medical facilities set up by the Indian Army for isolation and mental and physical isolation. In these facilities there’s a regimented routine which incorporates not only sports but recreational activities,” said the official spokesperson of the Indian Army.
For the Indian Army, it was also the first day of ensuring that the movement of the officers at the HQ level to a minimum in an effort to minimize exposure except for those involved in the essential duties.
All the three services have cut down all the staff in offices, duty moves, and training or exercise events on international travels. These steps have been taken to ensure that the pandemic is controlled, explained a senior officer.
However, the emergency staff, according to the spokesperson which includes duty officials, medical fraternity, drivers, cooks and other support staff continue to work.
Medical facilities set up by the Indian Army is located at Manesar, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur and has evacuees from Iran, Italy and Malaysia.
Those evacuated from Wuhan & Japan earlier have already been treated and discharged after the full protocol was observed.
So far …
Out of the 1200 evacuees, medical staff and Aircrew who were in these facilities, only one case of +ve COVID-19 has been reported.
However, this does not include another case reported from on IAF Facility in Hindon.
The Indian Army has also created more facilities at Jhansi, Binnaguri and Gaya as standby with an additional collective capacity of 1600 beds, also more facilities are ready in case there is an urgent requirement. However, these additional facilities do not include those which have been created by the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.
A team of four doctors led by Dr Savio Rodrigues, HOD Microbiology, Goa Medical College, took off from INS Hansa to Pune for undergoing training. The medical team which left onboard a Dornier aircraft of Indian Navy on its return on Friday will set up a COVID test facility at Goa.
The team also carried a few samples of COVID-19 suspects for testing.
Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)
OFB has designated 285 beds for isolation wards in their hospitals located across the country. This has been done as per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) instructions in the Cabinet Secretary’s meeting earlier this week.
According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), “The OFB has earmarked forty beds in hospitals located at Vehicle Factory Jabalpur; thirty beds each at Ammunition Factory Khadki, Gun and Shell Factory Cossipore, Metal and Steel Factory located in Ishapore, OF Kanpur, Khamaria, Ambajhari, also 25 beds at OF Ambernath and twenty beds each at Heavy Vehicle Factory Avadi and Ordnance Factory Medak.