State, UTs to make travelling arrangements for health workers says Health Minister in video conference meeting

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday asked states and union territories to implement community surveillance effectively with focus on international travellers who have come to India in the past one month.

He issued the directions during a meeting through video conference with state health ministers, chief secretaries and health officials to review the actions taken for COVID-19 management, according to a statement.

The Union minister asked authorities to start a helpline for those under quarantine so that they can reach out to psychologists.

 State, UTs to make travelling arrangements for health workers says Health Minister in video conference meeting

Harsh Vardhan conducts video conference meeting with state and union territories ministers. Image credit: Twitter

During the meeting through video conference, Vardhan advised the states and union territories (UTs) to explore and request retired doctors to volunteer for COVID-19 works proactively, the statement said.

Health officials have been asked to conduct random verification of those under home quarantine and take action against violators, it said.

In addition, states and UTs were advised to ensure training of ambulance drivers, call centre personnel and EMR team members. They were also asked to update district-wise ambulance details on the COVID-19 portal.

Vardhan stressed on the importance of social distancing for effective containment of the disease.

He asked authorities to be more vigilant and implement all possible containment strategies to break the chain of the transmission of the disease in India, according to the statement.

The Union minister urged them to ensure strict implementation of the lockdown and ensure the availability of essential services and commodities.

He also stressed on the importance of setting up dedicated hospitals for COVID-19 patients, conducting treatment as per protocol and ensuring contact tracing in all cases and their follow up, it said

Vardhan asked officials to attend on priority the issue of transportation of health workers so that there is no shortage of doctors, nurses and other health staff in medical facilities.

He advised them to make common travelling arrangements for doctors, nurses and other health workers.

In addition, Vardhan also took up the matter of effective coordination with the AIIMS portal for COVID-19 patient care and active coordination with IMA and other associations of nurses and paramedics, the statement said.

During the meeting, the Union minister also took up the matter of some landlords and owners evicting doctors and paramedics serving at hospitals with COVID-19 patients.0

He asked officials to issue a directive to landlords not to evict doctors, nurses and other health workers.

Vardhan stated that the government has announced Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for doctors, paramedic, healthcare workers dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. He asked states to provide funds under the National Health Mission to medical colleges for procuring COVID-19 related items.

He said that Union home ministry along with other departments are playing a supporting and critical role in maintaining supplies of essential items, medicines and equipment during the 21-day lockdown.

Proper directions are in place to ensure the availability of all essential services. In addition, he advised the states to ensure that the pharmacies perform doorstep delivery of drugs; a notification has been issued by the Central Government in this regard, the statement said.

Stating that telemedicine guidelines have been issued and an app is also being launched, he asked the states to identify hub of doctors who will use the app to advise people at home.

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Updated Date: Mar 27, 2020 10:47:09 IST