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COVID-19

68 bureaucrats to lead corona fight

NEW DELHI: The government has formed ten empowered groups and a strategic task force, together comprising around 68 bureaucrats, as it seeks to move comprehensively and with speed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Each of the ten empowered groups has been assigned specific tasks spanning medical emergency management to ensuring isolation beds, quarantine facilities, availability of essential equipments such as personal protective equipment, masks, gloves and ventilators and upgrading human resources and capacity building. One group will specifically look at public grievances.
“The idea is to have a comprehensive approach to deal with this unprecedented incident. The teams will look into different aspects and try to assess the impact from various perspectives. All the teams will work in a concerted way,” a senior official told TOI.
While the ten empowered groups will be headed by secretaries from different ministries and government departments and look at specific issues related to Covid-19 management, the task force comprises of six members and will look at strategic issues related to the lockdown.
The task force includes Dr V K Paul, member health in Niti Aayog; two secretaries from the home ministry, and three officials from the prime minister’s office .
The task force will report directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is empowered to take decisions, the official said.
“We are dealing with an unprecedented situation. A flood or earthquake affects some parts of the country but this has affected the entire country,” health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said.
The Centre has been insisting on stringent implementation of the lockdown and isolation measures to break the chain of transmission of Covid-19 and avoid a situation where the virus spreads to a larger community making it difficult for authorities to trace the link.
While cases are increasing rapidly in last one week, the government has maintained that there is still no evidence of community transmission in India.
Amid concerns that India may see a further surge in case load, the government and health agencies said a strict implementation of lockdown measures can avoid such a situation.
“If adherence to the lockdown is 100% then this (the cases) can be close to peak but we need to be aware that it is important to follow government guidelines and protocols for isolation, quarantine and social distancing,” Dr R R Gangakhedkar, head- epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.

  • Source
  • TOI

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