Corona fight: Army medical teams on standby to help four countries

Srinagar: Army chief General Bipin Rawat looks across Line of Control into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on Aug 31, 2019. He reviewed the operational preparedness of the formations deployed on Indo-Pakistan border during his visit to Northern Command on 30 and 31 August. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) The Indian Army has kept medical teams on standby for deployment in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan to help these countries in their fight against coronavirus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated that India is ready to provide medical help to the neighbouring countries following which the Indian Army was alerted.

The force had on April 11 sent eight medical officers and seven paramedics to Kuwait for capability development of that country’s government and setting up of RTPCR diagnostic panel machine.

The Army had also provided assistance to other friendly foreign countries. From March 13 to March 21, a medical team comprising five doctors, two nursing officers and seven paramedics were deployed in an advisory role to assist the Male government as part of its domestic COVID protection measures.

India had also provided medicines and medical equipment to Nepal and Afghanistan governments.

Within the country also, the force has taken up various initiatives. The force has deployed four medical officers and 18 support staff at the Narela quarantine centre being run by the Delhi government.

The Army was roped in from February when coronavirus was reported in China’s Wuhan.

The force was the first to set up a quarantine base in Manesar. From February 2 to February 18, a total 248 Indian citizens, mostly students, evacuated from Wuhan were quarantined at Manesar base.

Again from February 27 to March 12, a total 124 people evacuated from Diamond Princess Cruise at Japan were quarantined at Manesar base.

While the people were being removed from Manesar base, another lot of 83 people from Italy were quarantined from March 11. Out of 83 people, six citizens of India origin from Italy and three from the US were also quarantined.

A total 82 were discharged after being confirmed negative while one positive case was referred to Safdarjung hospital.

From March 15 to as on date , a total of 236 Indian citizens have been evacuated from Iran and quarantined at Jaisalmer. Out of these, 19 were COVID positive and were admitted at AIIMS Jodhpur. Nine of them have since recovered.

Nearly two battalion strength of troops vacated their living accommodation to assist in establishing these national-level facilities.

From March 16, to as on date, a total 53 citizens evacuated from Iran are quarantined at Jaisalmer. Out of these, three were COVID positive and admitted at AIIMS Jodhpur.

Another lot of 195 Indian citizens evacuated from Iran on March 18 are quarantined at Jaisalmer. Out of these, 22 were COVID positive and admitted at AIIMS Jodhpur.

A total 277 citizens evacuated on March 25 from Iran are quarantined at Jodhpur. Again on 275 Indian citizens evacuated from Iran on March 29, are quarantined at Jodhpur facility.

The force has also enhanced capability to reinforce national effort in fight against COVID.

“Three dedicated COVID hospitals at Barrackpore, Shillong and Likabali for civilians with total capacity of 490, extendable to 590, has been set up,” Indian Army stated.

A total 1,200 battlefield nursing assistants are trained to augment medical resources and seven COVID response teams with personnel from engineers and Army Medical Corps are on standby.

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