Coronavirus: Building up stock of life-saving equipment, says Punjab govt

4 committees to deal with various aspects of COVID-19 containment

Coronavirus: Building up stock of life-saving equipment, says Punjab govt

Image only for representational purposes. PTI photo.

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 29

Punjab is building up its stocks of life-saving equipment such as masks, gloves, ventilators, PPE kits etc, the government announced on Sunday.

By March 31, the state will have another 25,000 N95 masks, in addition to the 52,500 it already has in stock, along with 1 lakh Nitrile gloves, according to a government communique.

While the state government already has at its disposal 26,32,000 Triple Layer Masks, another 12 lakh will get added to the inventory by April 1, according to Additional Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan.

“As far as the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits, the government has ordered a total of 1 lakh, of which 7640 have already been received,” said Mahajan, adding that all efforts were being made to procure the balance at the earliest.

"Other critical supplies already available with the government include 10,425 hand sanitisers and 17000 VTM kits, with 2000 and 10000 more, respectively, already on the way and expected to be added to the inventory by April 1. The government is also procuring the ventilators for handling critical cases," she added.

Other materials being procured by the government to combat the Coronavirus crisis include the Automated Mid-High Nucleic Acid Purification machines, along with large quantities of Azithromycin & HydroxyChloroquine tablets, besides Laryngoscopes - Pediatric and Adult, Ambu Bags - Pediatric & Adult, Portable X-ray machines and ABG Eltrolyte Analyzers. These are in addition to the Urine analysers and Fully Automated Biochemistry Analysers which are already available with the state, according to Mahajan.

Talking about equipment already made operational, Vini Mahajan said that 1,06,000 TLMs, 45,000 Azithromycin Tablets, besides 30,000 Gloves, 4510 N 95 Masks and 1200 each of PPE & VTM Kits have been made available with the Government Medical College at Amritsar.

Similarly, the Government Medical College Patiala has received 1,21,500 TLMs,  30,000 Gloves, 3100 N 95 Masks and 800 Sanitizers. GMC Faridkot has got 1,00,000 TLMs, 30,000 Gloves besides 1800 N 95 Masks, 1200 VTM and 800 sanitizers.

In addition, 8000 tablets each of ARV (Ritonovir and Liponovir) have been provided to these three medical facilities. Besides 36,000 TLMs and 5000 Azithromycin tablets, MS Gian Sagar Hospital has been provided 280 N95 Masks and 210 VTM Kits, according to the ACS.

To reduce dependence on outside vendors Government has roped in local manufacturers, she said, adding that samples prepared by them were at present in testing phase. Business to business tie ups were being facilitated, as a result of which 10 lakh pieces of indigenously made hazmat armour suits had been ordered by the central government from JCT Mills, said Mahajan, adding that to facilitate testing of these suits, the Punjab Police had taken samples through the lockdown to Delhi from where they were taken to the Central testing laboratory at Coimbatore via a special flight.

Samples of PPEs and N95 masks designed and made at six more Punjab units had left for Coimbatore and Gwalior respectively for testing, while two local entrepreneurs had come forward with proposals for making ventilators, said the ACS.

The state was also in continuous discussion with the Health Ministry and other central ministries involved in regulatory clearances, to hand hold the entrepreneurs and fast track clearances to enable Made in Punjab ventilators, she said, adding that the state government will ensure immediate orders for these as soon as the clearances come in.

The Industry Department was extending full support, in the form of packaging material and transportation, to the various industries engaged in manufacturing essential items like sanitizers, masks, food items, pharmaceuticals, etc, said Mahajan.

All necessary support was also being extend to the Communications systems, including Broadband, ISP etc, said the ACS.

Assuring the people of the state’s full preparedness to tackle any eventuality, Mahajan said as per the directives issued by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the state was aggressively focussing on prevention and treatment of infection. She appealed to people to exercise restraint and maintain social distancing protocols to assist in flattening the curve.

4 committees to deal with various aspects of COVID-19 containment

The Government has also constituted four committees to deal with various key aspects of the state’s COVID-19 management efforts.

These are Health Sector Response and Procurement, Lockdown Implementation, Media & Communication as well as Agriculture & Food committees.

These committees would report to the State COVID-19 Management Group already notified by the Health & Family Welfare Department for taking quick decisions with respect to their subjects.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that these Committees would meet as frequently as required and report to the COVID-19 Management Group headed by the Chief Secretary.

The Health Sector Response and Procurement Committee has been constituted with ACS Governance Reforms as its chairperson, besides Principal Secretaries Finance, Health & Family Welfare, Medical Education & Research, Special Secretary Governance Reforms as members, while Secretary Health & Family Welfare and MD NHM would be the convener of the Committee. Dr KK Talwar and Dr Raj Bahadur would be associated as professional advisors to the Committee, which would assess and review all requirements of personnel, material and infrastructure of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education & Research Departments and ensure timely procurement. The Committee would also ensure provisioning of IT support needed for COVID-19 management.

The Lockdown Implementation Committee would be chaired by ACS Home Affairs and Justice with DGP, Principal Secretary Food & Civil Supplies and Transport as its members, besides ADGP Law & Order as convener. The  committee would review all arrangements related to security and enforcement of law & order and all measures that are required for effective management of curfew/lockdown in the state due to COVID-19, and will take appropriate measures to ensure the supply of essential commodities and services.

The committee on Media & Communication would be headed by Secretary Information and Public Relations with Joint Development Commissioner (IRD), Director Health Services (State Epidemiologist) as members and Director Information & Public Relations as convener. The Committee would make all necessary arrangements for preparing, compiling and disseminating information with regard to management and containment of COVID-19 in the state for all media, including social, print and electronic.

The Agriculture and Food Committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of ACS Development with Principal Secretary Food and Civil Supplies and Managing Directors of Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Markfed, Punsup and Pungrain as members, while Secretary Mandi Board would be the convener. This Committee would focus on smooth harvesting and procurement of crops, including wheat, potatoes, kinnows and vegetables. The Committee would also ensure smooth and proper procurement and harvesting operations in a regulated manner keeping in view curfew/lockdown in the state due to COVID-19 as well as the precautionary measures required to be taken to prevent corona virus. Mandi-wise system of procurement by appointment would be worked out to ensure proper social distancing and to avoid any untoward situation as also to ensure that every grain produced is procured by the agencies.

 

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