Updated: March 28, 2020 8:02:01 am
WHILE Army Chief General Manoj Naravane announced the launch of ‘Operation Namaste’, to extend help to civil authorities in their fight against novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and also prevent its spread in the force, the Pune-headquartered Southern Command assured its full support to the Maharashtra government. According to Command officials, large-scale efforts are underway to prepare for a larger emergency.
The Indian Express has reported that the Army, Navy and the Air Force are already operating or have kept ready a total of 15 quarantine facilities in the country. Meanwhile, the Army has also been doing its preparations to be ready to assist civil authorities as and when called for, said an official.
Operation Namaste — which refers to the practice of greeting people with a namaste instead of a handshake to avoid physical contact — has two key elements. One is being fully ready to assist civil authorities to battle COVID-19 and the second one is doing everything to protect its own forces from getting affected. Detailed directions have been issued to achieve these goals.
Meanwhile, an officer from the Southern Command met Maharashtra’s Principal Secretary of Health in Mumbai on Friday. During the meeting, various aspects for ensuring a co-ordinated response, and the latest developments in the state were discussed.
“Southern Command has assured its full support to the civil administration in these testing times and the Principal Secretary, in response, has conveyed that the state is very well geared up to tackle the fight against COVID-19 as of now. It is further confirmed that the Army has not received any requisition for deployment and as per inputs received from the Principal Secretary of health, the same is not envisaged at this stage,” read a press statement from Southern Command.
Officials said Southern Army Commander Lieutenant General C P Mohanty has conducted a number of video conferences with the Formation Commanders and other senior officers to coordinate and direct efforts towards a successful fight against COVID-19.
“All efforts are underway to prepare for a larger emergency which may occur and augmentation of medical and other facilities are underway. Procurement of medical equipment and personal protective equipment are also underway on a war footing. Efforts to identify and earmark locations across various stations of Southern Command for setting up quarantine and isolation centres have commenced,” the statement added.
Even before the announcement of Operaion Namaste, pre-emptive measures on social distancing and other precautions have been taken. Strict enforcement of the lockdown is being ensured and movement of troops has been severely restricted to maintenance of essential services only. Screening and quarantining of all ranks and their families is being done, along with contact tracing to ensure there is no spread of COVID-19.
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