New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday (March 25) chaired a GoM meeting to assess the situation in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, where the number of novel coronavirus cases rose to 606 with 10 deaths across the country, said a health ministry official.
A high-level meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 held today at Nirman Bhawan under the chairpersonship of Health Minister Dr Vardhan. The GoM had a detailed deliberation on the prevention and management of COVID-19 in the meeting.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “In order to protect ourselves and others, it is highly important that we follow all the protocols, guidelines and directions issued by the government, failing which may lead to legal actions under Section 188 of the IPC.”
While assuring that the government is making efforts to ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) and N-95 masks are available in adequate numbers to help the medical fraternity in their job, health ministry officials said 29 private laboratories with over 16,000 sample collection centres have been registered so far for testing of COVID-19.
Dr Harsh Vardhan reiterated his appeal to all those who are in the home and facility quarantine about observing it according to the protocol laid down by the Health Ministry, and which is also available at the ministry website.
“As announced by Prime Minister yesterday, the country has been put under lockdown. As part of this lockdown, we need to ensure that within our homes too we practice social distancing,” said Dr. Harsh Vardhan, adding that around 64,000 people have arrived from other countries to India since March 21 out of which 8,000 have been put in various quarantine facilities and 56,000 are in home isolation.
He said, “We are fighting an infectious disease. In order to protect ourselves and others, it is highly important that we follow all the protocols, guidelines and directions issued by the government, failing which may lead to legal actions under Section 188 of IPC.”
He also reiterated his appeal to everyone to not ostracise doctors and other medical staff who are at the forefront of this health emergency and serving to save us from COVID-19, adding “We should also avoid spreading rumours or un-authenticated information.”
A total of 118 laboratories have been included in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) network of COVID-19 testing. GoM was also apprised that Cabinet Secretary has also written letters and conducted video conference with Chief Secretaries, Health Secretaries and DGs of Police and instructed them to enforce implementation of lockdown measures.
Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home, Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping and Chemical and Fertilisers and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare were present, along with Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff.
(With Agency Inputs)
Source: Zee News