A day after the government formed an empowered group of officers on ‘medical emergency management plan’, the six-member group, headed by NITI Aayog member V K Paul, held its first meeting on Monday and discussed the various scenarios in which the number of COVID-19 cases can change in the coming month.
“The group is expected to come up with a medical emergency action plan in the next few days,” a source said.
The group, which comprises senior officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Cabinet Secretariat, Department of Biotechnology, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), also took an assessment of supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators required to deal with emergency situations, it is learnt.
The geographical distribution of health infrastructure was also assessed, sources said.
The group under Paul is one of the 11 empowered groups of officers constituted by Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Sunday “for planning and ensuring implementation of COVID-19 response activities”.
Another empowered group constituted for ‘coordinating with private sector, NGOs and international organisations for response-related activities’ also had its first meeting under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
Sources said the group interacted with representatives of industry bodies such as FICCI and CII, and 32 civil society organisations (CSOs).
During the meeting, Kant is learnt to have urged CSOs to support the local administration in addressing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and by running decentralised kitchens and shelters for homeless and migrant workers, partner with state and local governments to minimise adverse effects of the spread of coronavirus.
He is learnt to have asked them to identify the infected patients and those most affected, and assisting people requiring hospital admissions; establishing and operating quarantine and isolation centres in taluk headquarters of more rural districts.
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