Stating that there was no need to panic on their availability, the Union Health Ministry said it was not required by everyone involved in coronavirus infection treatment.
Agarwal said, while the government was augmenting the PPE supply, its use was based on the risk profile. “The PPE is meant for high risk profile patients and not for patients with low and moderate risk,” he said.
The PPE is not only coverall, but a mix of boot, coverall, head gear and N95 mask. While high risk patients needed full component, for the moderate risk patients mask and gloves were sufficient, he said.
“We have procured sufficient quantities of the PPE and provided them to the state governments. Rationalisation should be exercised in its usage”, Agarwal said.
Agarwal said the meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM), comprising health, civil aviation, external affairs, home, chemical, shipping and fertilizer Ministers, focused on containment and management efforts. It also took up dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, availability of PPE, ventilators and N95 masks.
He said the GoM emphasised that doctors were like soldiers and they needed the community support, and also the people should not believe fake news as information could be accessed through call centres of the central and the state governments.
Citing the government guidelines, he said the PPE should be made available to medical staff and be used rationally. Agarwal said the Indian Railways had produced about 600,000 reusable face masks and over 4,000 litres of hand sanitiser, and deployed more than 2,500 doctors, 35,000 paramedics.
It had sanctioned nearly 5,000 coaches to be converted into 80,000 isolation beds. Of this, 3,250 coaches had already been converted into isolation stations, he added.
The GoM also directed that Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) should be utilised as per prescription and is not advised for patients with cardiac irregularities or those suffering from cardiac disease which can be harmful.
The Health Ministry also cited the ”adopt a family program”, amid the lockdown, in Karnal district, where local businessmen and those living abroad, have contributed generously to adopt needy families.
“Rs 64 lakhs has been raised, which will take care of 13,000 poorest families throughout the district. Efforts are also being made to distribute 90,000 meals per day to vulnerable groups. Technology such as dedicated ”Karnal Live Tracker” to track the home quarantines & also an online local delivery app ”Need on Wheels (NOW) have been facilitated by the local district administration to procure vegetable/fruit wholesalers & dairies”, said the ministry in a statement.