All medical personnel who retired from the armed forces in the last two years will be recalled and deployed at Covid facilities near their homes, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat told Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. Briefing the PM about the preparations made by the armed forces to help in the country’s fight against the pandemic, General Rawat said oxygen cylinders available with the military will be diverted to the hospitals that desperately need the live-saving gas amid the rapid second wave of Covid infections.
Other retired medical officers have been asked to provide consultations through emergency help lines, according to a government statement.
General Rawat told PM Modi that all medical officers on staff appointments at the military headquarters will be deployed at hospitals to support the overburdened health workers.
Nursing staff will also be deployed to help doctors, he added.
The CDS also said the military was creating medical facilities in large numbers and wherever possible, the infrastructure will be opened for civilians.
PM Modi also reviewed the operations being undertaken by the air force to ferry oxygen and other essentials in India and abroad.
India has been logging over 3 lakh daily coronavirus cases for several days. On Monday, it reported record 3.52 lakh fresh cases and over 2,800 deaths in 24 hours.
Due to the intense pressure exerted by the Covid caseload, the country’s health infrastructure is on the verge of collapse. Severe shortages of hospital beds, medicines and medical oxygen have been reported in the worst-hit states.
In the national capital, the worst-hit city in the country, several big and small hospitals have been sending out SOS to the Delhi government and the centre regarding the oxygen shortage.
Last week, 25 patients died in a Delhi hospital due to interruption in oxygen supply.
The Delhi High Court last week told the centre to plug the widening demand-supply gap. “Beg, borrow, steal, it is your duty,” the judges had said.