Coronavirus | India to add 40,000 ventilators by June to battle virus

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A 10-month-old infant from Karnataka among new cases; according to reports from States death toll from the outbreak has touched 21.

As the ICMR on Friday confirmed 75 fresh cases and 17 deaths in the COVID-19 outbreak, the Union Health Ministry announced that it was scaling up measures to combat the virus by bringing in 40,000 more ventilators in the next three months.

According to data released by the Ministry, a total of 724 individuals have tested positive; 27,688 samples from 26,798 individuals have been tested for the SARS-CoV2 virus as on March 27, an ICMR release said.

According to reports from States, the toll from the outbreak has touched 21, with 159 fresh cases in the last 24 hours. Karnataka reported its third death of a 60-year-old man, along with nine new cases, including a 10-month-old infant from Dakshina Kannada. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh reported one fatality each. Kerala reported the maximum number of cases at 179 with 39 new cases, while Maharashtra had 153 cases.

Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said India is working on the guidelines prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to isolate, test, track and treat.

“This has been our strategy from day one and it has also been a pre-emptive, preventive and comprehensive approach. Today 1.4 lakh companies have allowed employees to work from home and 22 lakh health workers will benefit from the ₹50 lakh insurance,” he told reporter.

Mr Agarwal said the Ministry has asked a “PSU to make 10,000 ventilators and another 30,000 will come from Bharat Electricals, a PSU under the Defence Ministry. Also our field frontline workers are been educated through online mode to contribute in our effort to contain the virus.’’

“We want to stress that the need of the hours is to continue 100% adherence to social distancing and lock down norms. We can break transmission only by contributing fully to this. Even a single case of non-compliance can set us back,” the official said.

“President Kovind also had video conferencing with Governor, Lt. Governors, NGO heads to ensure that we provide a joint front to contain the virus and that all efforts are made to ensure that the common man stays protected,’’ he added.

Requesting everyone to stay where they are during the lock-down period joint secretary, Home Ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava, said that Centre has asked States ensure cargo movement and directed then to pay attention to the unauthorized movement of migrant labourers.

“We have requested that all migrant workers be allowed to stay safe where they are and provided with food, water, shelter and standard hygiene facilities. This is vital to help break the COVID-19 chain of transmission,” she said.

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