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This is India’s Plan to Battle COVID-19 Outbreak

India has drawn up a battle plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic that involves focusing sharply on states, cities and districts that need immediate attention, heeding lessons from global hotspots like Italy and Iran that allowed the outbreak to spin out of control because of their halting and inconsistent response.
 
The plan is to ensure adequate arrangements are made for government and private hospitals, quarantine facilities, isolation beds, intensive care units (ICUs), ventilators and personal protective equipment to combat a surge in infections.
 
This is being done by evaluating hospitals across India’s hotspot districts “to understand readiness and required interventions to respond to current and near future patient load", according to a covid-19 war room document.
 
“Identify which states with doubling every 3/5/7 days counties such as (Italy, Iran, France)," the document said and added, “Highlight which state needs urgent attention if doubling rate is higher than Italy, France etc.”
 
The government has readied 124,294 isolation beds, 29,810 ICU beds, 14,947 ventilators, 650,190 N95 masks and 295,102 PPEs; India has also expanded its testing facilities to enable rapid testing and isolation of positive cases, which remains the key strategy of the government.
 
“Monitoring every district enables us to understand readiness and required interventions to respond to current and near future patient load," the document said.
 
There has been growing criticism that the lockdown, while necessary, was unplanned, resulting in more than 600,000 daily wagers and their families leaving for their villages. Public health experts fear the mass migration, the biggest since partition, may trigger an explosion of cases in rural areas where healthcare facilities are poorly staffed, lack testing labs and almost no critical-care equipment.
 
Given the gravity of the situation, the government has also launched apps such as Aarogya Setu to help track coronavirus infections by using the smartphone’s GPS system in determining if one has been near a covid-19 infected person or not.
 
Also, the Indian Council on Medical Research on Saturday issued an advisory “to start rapid antibody-based blood test for covid-19, in clusters (with containment zones), and in large migration gatherings/evacuee centres". Apart from the nucleic acid tests which take roughly six hours to prepare the results, the government has also fast-tracked validation of new testing kits to enable rapid-testing across all major parts of the country.
 
The government has also stepped up domestic manufacturing of personal protection equipment for the healthcare workers and medical devices, especially ventilators. Indian automobile manufacturers are also repurposing their manufacturing facilities to make ventilators.
 
Recognizing that the disease is not spreading uniformly, the Union government is collaborating with state governments to evolve a common approach to lift the curbs gradually.
 
To ensure that essential utilities remain functional, the workforce across India’s energy supply chains such as electricity and petroleum products has been mobilized to keep the wheels of the economy turning.
 
India’s multi-pronged strategy to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus involves roping in Employees’ State Insurance Corporation. (ESIC), defence, railways and paramilitary personnel for readying quarantine facilities.

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