Updated: April 24, 2021 6:14:16 am
As the Covid-19 pandemic rages across the country, the armed forces have vaccinated nearly 99 per cent of its personnel with at least one dose and nearly 75 per cent of them have been vaccinated with both doses.
Sources in the Defence Ministry said that nearly 15.5 lakh armed forces personnel have got the first dose, and over 1 lakh healthcare workers have been administered the first dose well.
While nearly 90,000 healthcare workers have got the second dose, among the armed forces personnel more around 11.7 lakh have received the second dose.
The armed forces were asked to assist the state governments and civil administration in the battle against Covid-19, as cases have increased almost vertically across various states amid a second wave.
However, even with near-universal first dose vaccination, the forces are still seeing Covid-19 cases rise among its personnel. At the starting of this week, there were over 1,000 serving personnel who were Covid-19 positive across the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Slightly more than 650 dependents of the armed forces personnel were positive as of earlier this week.
Till the starting of this week, the armed forces have had more than 44,000 positive cases, with less than 120 deaths, and nearly 43,000 discharged. Among the dependents, the total cases have been over 7,800 with nearly 400 deaths and nearly 6,800 discharged.
On Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh sanctioned delegation of emergency financial powers to Armed Forces Medical Services to fight the surge in cases. Lt General rank officers have been given financial powers till Rs 5 crore, and Rs 3 crore and Rs 2 crore to Major General and Brigadier rank officers, respectively, across the forces.
The Army has decided to turn its 350-bed Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment into a 1000-bed exclusive Covid-19 facility.
The Defence Ministry on Friday announced that the Armed Forces Medical Services, AFMS, “has decided to import oxygen generation plants and containers from Germany, amid a shortage of oxygen in the hospitals” in this second wave. Also, 23 mobile oxygen generation plants are being airlifted from Germany “that will be deployed in AFMS hospitals” catering to Covid-19 patients.
The ministry mentioned that each of these 23 plants can produce 40 litres of oxygen per minute and 2,400 litres an hour, and at that rate, “it can cater to 20-25 patients round the clock”. The advantage of these plants, the ministry stated, “is that they are easily portable” and these are expected to arrive in the country within a week.
The ministry has also decided to give an extension to the Short Service Commissioned Doctors in AFMS till December 31, 2021 “to tide over the current surge in medical services” and it will augment the strength of AFMS by 238 more doctors.
Meanwhile, it has increased the strength of doctors at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel DRDO’s Covid-19 facility in Delhi compared to last year. Sources told The Indian Express that looking at the ongoing surge in cases and the concerning situation in Delhi, the number of doctors serving at the DRDO facility, which reopened with 250 beds earlier this week, to be expanded to 500 beds, was increased.
The DRDO facility had opened last year with 1,000 beds but was closed down in February when the number of Covid-19 cases had come down across the country.
Sources said that compared to 294 doctors and healthcare workers last year, the facility has 378 now, including 161 doctors (compared to 132 last year). Last year the facility had 18 specialists and no super-specialist doctors, compared to 43 specialists and 17 super specialists now.
It has 214 paramedics now, which is more than the 162 that were there last year.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.