Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo Credit: PTI)
The Modi government on Thursday sanctioned Rs 15,000 crore package to states to strengthen India's fight against the novel coronavirus. The funds allocated will be utilized for immediate COVID-19 Emergency Response (amount of Rs 7774 crores) and rest for medium-term support (1-4 years) to be provided under mission mode approach, read a press statement.
In a letter to the addichief secretaries, principal secretaries and commissioners(Health) of all states and UTs, the Health Ministry said the 100 per cent centrally funded package will be implemented in three phases from January 2020 to March 2024.
"The key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit COVID-19 in India through the development of diagnostics and COVID-19 dedicated treatment facilities, centralized procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs required for treatment of infected patients, strengthen and build resilient National and State health systems to support prevention and preparedness for future disease outbreaks, setting up of laboratories and bolster surveillance activities, bio-security preparedness, pandemic research and proactively engage communities and conduct risk communication activities," read the document.
"With the objectives of emergency COVID-19 response, strengthening national and state health systems to support prevention and preparedness, procurement of essential medical equipment, consumables and drugs, strengthening of surveillance activities, including setting up of laboratories and bio-security preparedness," the letter said.
According to the letter, the Union Health Ministry is releasing funds for states and Union territories under the National Health Mission for implementation of phase 1 up to June 2020. "The key activities to be implemented under Phase 1 include support to states and UTs for development of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, isolation blocks, ICUs with ventilators oxygen supply in hospitals, strengthening of laboratories, hiring of additional human resources and incentives to human resource and community health volunteers," the letter added.
It also includes strengthening of identified laboratories and expansion of diagnostic capacities and mobility support for sample transport.
The ministry has also asked states and UTs to use the funds for the procurement of personal protective equipment, N-95 masks and ventilators over and above what is being procured and supplied by the central government. The activities to be undertaken also include disinfection of hospitals, government offices, public utilities and ambulances, the letter said.
The project will be implemented in three phases during the period January 2020 to March 2024 — Phase 1 from January to June 2020, phase 2 from July to March 2021 and phase 3 from April 2021 to March 2024. The death toll due to novel coronavirus rose to 166 and the number of cases climbed to 5,734 in the country on Thursday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
(With agency inputs)