Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked officials to ensure sufficient availability of personal protective equipment, masks, gloves and ventilators. He chaired a meeting of the 11 empowered groups set up by the Centre to assist the government in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed the concerned groups and officials to ensure sufficient production, procurement and availability of all essential medical equipment such as PPEs, masks, gloves and ventilators,” a tweet from the Prime Minister’s Office read.
At the meeting, the prime minister also reviewed the nation’s preparedness to deal with the pandemic. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed countrywide preparedness regarding availability of hospitals, proper isolation and quarantine facilities as well as disease surveillance, testing and critical care training,” his office posted on Twitter.
On Saturday, the Centre imposed restrictions on the export of diagnostic kits with immediate effect as the number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 2,902. Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed 68 people in the country so far. More than 1,000 cases are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a press conference on Saturday.
Last month, the government had set up 11 empowered groups as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic. The focus groups were set up under the Disaster Management Act to “synchronise efforts cutting across ministries and departments” in containing the pandemic. These groups have been empowered with the responsibility of identifying problem areas to formulate plans, strategise operations and take all necessary steps for effective and time-bound implementation of policies and decisions.
The government had set up empowered groups on medical equipment and management plan, availability of hospitals, essential drugs and medical equipment, augmenting human resources by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and facilitating supply chain and logistics management. Besides these, the government had also set up groups on coordinating with private sector non-governmental and international organisations, public grievances and suggestions, public awareness, technology, strategic issues relating to the lockdown and economy.