NEW DELHI: With the number of coronavirus cases increasing in the country, defence minister Rajanth Singh on Thursday asked the armed forces to further step up their efforts in combating the pandemic and providing assistance to the civilian administration at various levels.
During the top-level review meeting, Singh appreciated the “proactive role” played by the armed forces in evacuating Indian and foreign nationals from Covid-19 affected countries like China, Japan and Iran as well as ensuring their proper care at various quarantine facilities.
The quarantine facilities set up by the Army, Navy and IAF have handled 1,462 evacuees till now. At present, 1,073 persons are being provided medical care at the facilities in Manesar, Hindan, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Mumbai. “Additional quarantine facilities are on standby with 950 beds capacity,” said an official.
DRDO labs, in turn, have manufactured and supplied 20,000 litres of sanitizers to various organizations, including 10,000 litres to Delhi police. DRDO, which has also supplied 10,000 masks to Delhi police, is tying up with some private companies to make personal protection equipment such as body suits and also ventilators, said officials.
The Ordnance Factory Board factories have also ramped up production of sanitizers, masks and body suits, while defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited is also engaged in the manufacturing of ventilators.
Officials said the Army medical teams deployed in the Maldives have returned after completion of their mission there. “Army medical teams and two warships of Navy are on standby to provide required assistance to friendly countries in the neighbourhood if required,” said an official.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, Army chief General M M Naravane, defence secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and DRDO chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy, among others.