Ensure transportation of medical staff, Harsh Vardhan tells states

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Varshan has urged the states/UTs to attend on priority the issue of the health workers transportation so that there is no shortage of doctors, nurses and other health staff in medical facilities during the national lockdown due to the novel coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic.
The Health Minister, who held a meeting to review actions and preparedness for COVID-19 management through video conferencing with Health Ministers, Chief Secretaries of States and UTs and other related officers of the Health Departments here on Thursday, advised them to make common travelling arrangements for doctors, nurses and other health workers.
In addition, he took up the matter of effective coordination with the AIIMS portal for COVID-19 patient care and active coordination with IMA and other associations of nurses and paramedics.
Pointing to recent reports about some landlords and owners evicting doctors/paramedics who were serving the country in combating COVID-19, he strongly advised the states to issue directive to landlords not to evict doctors, nurses and other health workers.
The Health Minister also stated that the Government has announced Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for doctors, paramedic, healthcare workers dealing with Coronavirus outbreak and advised states to provide funds under NHM to medical colleges for procuring COVID-19 related items.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also stressed on the importance of setting up dedicated hospitals for novel Coronavirus patients in in the states and told the participants to ensure social distancing for effective containment of the disease. He asked all the states to be more vigilant and implement all possible containment strategies to break the chain of the transmission of the disease in India by ensuring strict implementation of the 21-day national lockdown.
Besides ensuring the availability of essential services and commodities, Dr Harsh Vardhan also stressed on the treatment of confirmed cases as per protocol, to ensure contact tracing in all cases and their follow up. He advised the States/UTs for effective community surveillance with specific focus on international travellers to India since past one month.
In addition, he also advised them for random verification of home quarantine and action against defaulters.
Participating in the video conference were participants from Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Mizoram, Andaman & Nicobar, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Goa and Chhattisgarh.
Senior officers from the Ministry, NCDC and ICMR were also present during the video conferencing. He also had a telephonic talk with Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja, who could not join in the VC, and discussed the status of COVID-19 in the state.
He said the Ministry of Home Affairs along with other departments were playing a supporting and critical role in maintaining supplies of essential items, medicines and equipment during the 21 days lockdown. He said that proper directions are in place to ensure the availability of all essential services. In addition, he advised the states to ensure that the Pharmacies perform doorstep delivery of drugs; a notification has been issued by the central Government in this regard, he stated.
Referring to the importance of mental health of those under quarantine, Dr Harsh Vardhan advised states to start a Helpline for those already in quarantine (psychologists). He said telemedicine guidelines have been issued and app was also being launched and asked the states to identify hub of doctors who will use the app to advise people at home.