India has stocked enough medicines, other necessary requirements to tackle COVID-19: Harsh Vardhan


NEW DELHI: India has already stocked medicines and other necessary requirements to tackle coronavirus outbreak if a situation like China arrises in the country, Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said here on Thursday.

“In the morning, Union Minister of State for Chemical and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya briefed me that his ministry has already stocked medicines and other necessary requirements if any untoward incident like China occurs here,” said Dr Vardhan.

He also said India is prepared through its various timely measures and sturdy system of surveillance for novel coronavirus.

He made these remarks during a meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness and measures taken regarding the management of novel coronavirus in the country.

The GoM was constituted on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While its first meeting was held on February 3 at Nirman Bhawan under the chairpersonship of Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Vardhan, the second meeting of the GOM was held here today.

It was chaired by Dr Vardhan along with Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Minister of State for Home Nityananda Rai, Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of State for Shipping and Minister of State, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey.

Dr Vardhan said that regular reviews are held with all related Ministries of Health, Defence, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Home, Textiles, Pharmaceuticals, Commerce, Panchayati Raj and other officials including State Chief Secretaries.

“We have good and effective co-ordination among ministries, robust surveillance system, a network of laboratories to support diagnosis, upgraded medical facilities, trained health workforce and media presence that can reach even remote areas,” he said.

“We have put all these resources at our disposal to prevent/contain an outbreak of novel coronavirus in India”, he stated. In addition to the ministerial meetings, a video conference is being held every other day with the states to review their preparedness and actions.

The GOM was also informed about the two quarantine centres having 645 persons evacuated from Wuhan. The camps are being maintained by the Armed Forces and The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). All inhabitants are medically examined on a daily basis. The GoM was apprised that all the evacuees have tested negative for COVID-19.

During the meeting, the GOM was also briefed that a total of 2,315 flights have been screened covering a total of 2,49,447 passengers.

The GOM was also apprised that adequate materials like personal protection equipment (PPE) and N95 masks are available and the situation is closely monitored in all States and UTs. The preparedness and actions are being reviewed at the highest level every day by the Union Health Minister and the Cabinet Secretary in addition to Secretary (HFW).

The meeting was also attended by Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, H Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary, Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Civil Aviation. (ANI)