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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

India has dialled up its medical diplomacy, sending loads of medicines to 100-plus countries over the last two weeks to help them fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides that, the country has started sending trained medical professionals to support frontline workers in the regional allies.

The first batch of 88 medical professionals from India arrived in the UAE to help the frontline workers. They arrived on a special flight at the Dubai airport on Saturday. The will join duty after completing mandatory 14 days quarantine according to the International regulations.

India’s Ambassador to UAE Pavan Kapoor said that the latest humanitarian step would strengthen the long-standing friendship between the two countries.

“India and the UAE are showing how a strategic partnership translates into concrete cooperation on the ground in dealing with this pandemic. Helping a friend in need is the motto of cooperation between our two countries,” said Mr Kapoor.

Earlier, India sent teams of Indian military doctors to countries like Nepal and the Maldives to help local administrations draw up plans to combat the spread of Corona.

A top official in Delhi told Asian Lite that India is supplying nearly 100 million hydroxychloroquine tablets and close to 500 million paracetamol tablets to 120 countries. This is apart from the 1,000 tonnes of paracetamol granules that have been sent to make tablets.

Many of the supplies have been made through special Indian Air Force flights, foreign evacuation charters and even diplomatic cargo. It is a huge exercise, and complicated too given that most countries, including India, have shut flight operations.

According to South Block officials, 5 million HCQ tablets and a large quantity of paracetamol has been either supplied or in the process of being supplied to 50 plus countries as grant assistance to combat Covid-19.

India has decided to supply all the drugs that were lying in special economic zones or 100 percent export oriented units after ensuring that there was an adequate buffer stock for domestic requirements in a worst-case scenario.

Prepared for the worst

“We do not anticipate the worst kind of situation in India like other developed countries, which are badly hit by Covid-19 crisis, but still we have prepared the whole country for the worst possible scenario,” said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

Passengers arrive in Kozhikode, Kerala

Vardhan while interacting with health ministers and senior officials of north-eastern states, through video conferencing, on the mitigation efforts to address Covid-19 crisis said the fatality rate in the country continues to be around 3.3 per cent and the recovery rate of coronavirus patients have climbed up to 29.9 per cent, and there are very good indicators.

“Doubling rate of cases for the last three days has been about 11 days. For the past seven days the doubling rate has been 9.9. and, for the last 14 days it is 10.7 today… we do not anticipate the worst kind of situation in India like other developed countries, but still we have prepared the whole country for the worst situation,” said Vardhan.

The remarks from the health minister has come on the heels of a statement made in the press briefing by Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary Health Ministry, saying citizens must learn to live with the coronavirus. “As we talk of relaxations to lockdown, we have to deal with the challenge of learning to live with the virus, for this we need to make the required prevention measures a part of our life, through a behaviour change process,” Agarwal had said on Friday.

Vardhan added that currently 843 hospitals are exclusively dedicated for Covid-19 patients’ treatment, which have about 1,65,991 beds. “Across the country, there are 1, 991 dedicated COVID-19 health centres which have 1,35,643 beds. They include isolation as well as ICU beds,” he added.

Vardhan also cited there are 7, 645 quarantine centres across the country. “We have distributed 69 lakhs N-95 masks to various state governments. A total of 32.76 Lakhs PPEs have been distributed to state governments by the centre,” said Vardhan.

The health ministry had emphasized as migrant workers return to their home states, it is essential that all guidelines and precautions regarding infection prevention and management should be followed.

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