Cabinet okays Rs 15,000 crore for ‘India COVID-19 emergency response, health system preparedness package’

Cabinet okays Rs 15,000 crore for ‘India COVID-19 emergency response, health system preparedness package’

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Wednesday okayed Rs 15,000 crore for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’ to mount an urgent response for containing the spread of the virus in India through development of dedicated treatment facilities and setting up laboratories among others.

The fund will be utilized in three phases.

Rs 7,774 crore, has been provisioned for COVID-19 Emergency Response and the rest for medium-term support, ranging from one to four years to be provided under mission-mode approach.

“The key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit coronavirus infection in India through development of diagnostics and COV1D-dedicated treatment facilities, centralised procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs, strengthen and build resilient national and state health systems, setting up of laboratories and bolstering surveillance activities and pandemic research,” an official statement stated.

These interventions and initiatives would be implemented under the health ministry.

In the first phase, the health ministry with the support of all the other line ministries has already undertaken several activities.

An additional Rs 3,000 crore under the package has been released to states and Union Territories, for strengthening existing health facilities as COVID-19 dedicated hospitals, dedicated COVID-19 health centres and dedicated care centres for the disease.

Detailed guidelines, protocols and advisory for quarantine, isolation, testing, treatment, disease containment, decontamination, social distancing and surveillance have been issued.

Hotspots have been identified and appropriate containment strategies are being implemented, the statement said.

“Diagnostic laboratories network has been expanded and our testing capacity is increasing every day. In fact, leveraging on the existing multi-disease testing platforms under National TB Elimination Programme, orders for procurement of 13 lakhs diagnostic kits have been placed to augment COVID-19 testing,” it said.

“All health workers, including community health volunteers (ASHAs) have been covered under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers lighting COVID-19’. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), N95 masks and ventilators, testing kits and drugs for treatment are being procured centrally,” it stated.

A major share of the fund will be used for mounting robust emergency response, strengthening national and state health systems followed by strengthening pandemic research and multi-sector national institutions and platforms for one-health, community engagement and risk communications and implementation, management, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation component, the statement said. PTI

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