India roped in armed forces to tackle Covid-19 crisis

India has roped in armed forces to deal with coronavirus pandemic crisis in the country. The decision was taken witnessing soaring cases of Covid-19 across the country. Covid tally on April 20 has shot up to 15,321,089 cases and also reported the highest-ever single-day spike in Covid-related deaths with 1,761 fatalities. The death toll from the deadly infection stands at 180,550. The country now has over 2 million active cases. The Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will review the Covid situation with all the service chiefs, Chief of Defence Staff, all Secretaries, Defence Research and Development Organisation Chairman and Director General Armed Forces Medical Services. Singh has urged the forces to be on war footing in fight against Covid, provide all medical help to the affected people. He has also directed army to open up medical facilities for local people and directed that forces top commanders to get in touch with Chief Ministers of the states. A senior Defence Ministry official said that the defence minister spoke to the Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane and asked him to instruct commanders in state capitals to reach out chief ministers and provide all possible assistance. The defence secretary Ajay Kumar was also part of the discussions on Monday evening. It was decided that hospitals run by the Cantonment Boards across the country will also be made open to civilians living in the areas and also coming from outside the Cantonment zones. The minister said that all efforts should be made to ensure maximum assistance to the affected people as the defence establishment has best medical facilities. India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has already started a 250 bed facility in Delhi, will increase beds to 500. The organisation is also setting up two hospitals in Lucknow that has become a hotbed of a Covid cases. The DRDO had wound up its 1000 bed facility to treat Covid patients in February but the surging numbers has prompted them to reopen it with 500 beds. [caption id="attachment_539" align="alignnone" width="640"]
Facility set up by DRDO. Medical team by DGAFMS. The facility's all beds with oxygen, large number ventilators, zero charges and basic testing facilities as per WHO standards.[/caption] The hospitals being set up by DRDO may not be enough considering the surge so all possible help in military medical facilities has being planned. The facility stated to take patients on Monday and on the first day all 250 beds were occupied. "All the beds are equipped with oxygen and large number of ventilators are also be available. The facility will be free of cost and will have testing and Air-conditioning as per WHO standards," the DRDO stated.

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