Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 19
With the country witnessing a surge in cases of COVID-19 infections, Headquarters Western Command will render all possible assistance to state governments within its area of responsibility in their efforts to combat the pandemic.
This includes assistance in providing medical care to civilians, maintenance of law and order, setting up of quarantine facilities, distribution of essential items as and when called upon to do so.
According to sources, senior officers at Command Headquarters had discussions with civil authorities in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi and Jammu, today evening on modalities for providing the Army’s assistance.
The Army will keep on standby fully equipped medical teams and if the need arises, open its medical facilities to treat civilian patients.
It will also assist the local authorities in providing medical aid, ferrying essential items in remote or far-flung areas and evacuating persons requiring immediate medical attention.
The Army is also providing its railway rolling stock to the Indian Railways for transport of oxygen tankers and oxygen cylinders to various parts of the country in wake of the spike in demand of medical oxygen.
The Railways is running special trains for the purpose.
Earlier, during the lockdown last year, the Army had operated several quarantine camps to house travellers and other suspected cases of COVID-19 during their stipulated period of isolation, besides providing medical teams, equipment and medicines to the civil administration in various parts of the country.
To combat the pandemic, the Army also issued fresh instructions this week, which included reducing office attendance to 50 per cent, conducting meetings through video conferencing and staggering office timings.
Only emergency medical treatment would be permitted in military hospitals and all training activities would be conducted while adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
The armed forces too have not been immune to the pandemic and according to official figures, about 40,000 personnel in all three services were infected with the virus. Strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols and precautionary measures as well as a vigorous vaccination drive is being undertaken by the forces.
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