Highlights: Ministry of Defence’s Fight Against COVID-19
As India battles the Chinese virus pandemic, various wings of Ministry of Defence, is contributing its resources in the best possible way to combat the unprecedented situation.
Following are the details of the efforts and initiatives of Ministry of Defence (MoD):
- Armed Forces running six quarantine facilities at Mumbai, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Hindon, Manesar and Chennai.
- Total Evacuees received so far – Over 1,740 (including Medical team and air crew)
- One thousand seven hundred forty persons quarantined, of which 402 released so far. Four positive COVID cases referred to Hospitals.
- Total dedicated Army Hospital to COVID-19 Patients- 13
- Total COVID-19 Bed Capacity with Army Hospitals -9,000
- Fifteen other facilities are being kept ready as standby for use, if required.
- Dedicated COVID-19 facilities including High Dependency Units, Intensive Care Unit beds are being prepared in 51 hospitals of the Armed Forces across the country.
- Five viral testing labs at Armed Forces hospitals made part of national grid. Six more hospitals are being equipped shortly with the resources to begin COVID-19 testing.
INDIAN AIR FORCE
- Two evacuation missions by C-17 aircraft, first on 26/27 February where 15 T medical assistance was taken to Wuhan and 112 Indians and citizens of friendly foreign countries were flown back. Second aircraft flew to Tehran on 10 March and flew back with 58 Indian citizens.
- Two quarantine facilities are operational, first at Air Force Station Hindon which is looking after 58 people ex Tehran and at AF Station Tambram which is looking after 113 citizens ex Malaysia. Seven other quarantine facilities have been kept in a state of readiness in Bhatinda, Devlali, Dundigal, Chakeri, Agra, Gorakhpur and Bangalore. Air Force Hospital Jaisalmer is the reporting hospital for the Army quarantine facility at Jaisalmer.
- Air Force Command Hospital Bangalore is carrying out COVID testing. Air Force aircraft are being used to fly back samples from Leh for COVID testing at Delhi and Chandigarh regularly. 3 doctors from PGI Chandigarh were also flown in to Leh by IAF aircraft.
- Medical assistance to friendly foreign countries were airlifted on two occasions. On 30 March, 1 T medical load was positioned at Gorakhpur by Dornier aircraft and Mi17 Helicopters and thereafter taken by road to Nepal. On 02 April, 6. 2T medical load was flown to Male by C 130 ac.
- Medical load is being regularly flown in support of State Governments as and when required. Load has been flown in to Leh, Srinagar, Prayagraj, Dibrugarh, Mohanbari, Bareilly, Agra, Guwahati, Port Blair etc in aid of the Govts of UP, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Andaman and Nicobar islands. C 17, C130, An 32, Avro, Dornier and Mi17 aircraft have been used for this purpose. Around 250 Tonne load has been airlifted for this purpose till date. Load for DRDO (fabric) was also airlifted to help them in making masks. 26 medium and heavy lift aircraft and 23 medium and heavy lift helicopters have been kept in readiness for any contingency.
- IAF airlifted essential medical supplies and commodities from nodal points to Manipur, Nagaland and Gangtok in North Eastern region; and the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. In addition, An-32 aircraft, on 06 Apr 2020, airlifted personnel and 3500 kg of medical equipment of ICMR from Chennai to Bhubaneswar for setting up of testing labs and facilities in Odisha.
- Quarantine Facilities (Wellness/Corona Care Centres) have been set up in all three Commands (Capacity of approx 1500 personnel).
- Mumbai (Ghatkopar) already functioning with 44 Indians brought back from Iran.
- Vizag and Kochi are also ready when required.
- In the process of setting up isolation facilities in all the commands including outlying units.
- Teams of Battle Field Nursing Assistants (BFNA), comprising of non-medical personnel have being readied to help medical staff should the situation become overwhelming. Training of Indian Navy personnel is in progress.
- Jawans of the Defence Security Corps (DSC) and Indian Naval personnel from INS Hansa distributed food at several locations in Vasco, Goa for stranded migrant labourers, rag pickers and low income families, struggling to feed themselves in the prevailing lockdown conditions. 320 people were provided cooked food at Vasco Railway Station, Bogda and Ram Mandir at Goa.
DEFENCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION (DRDO)
- DRDO developed a bio suit to keep the medical, paramedical and other personnel to manage and evacuate the causalities in the event of radiological emergencies. Each suit costs Rs 7,000.
- Developed Portable Backpack Area Sanitisation Equipment and Trolley Mounted Large Area Sanitisation Equipment for effective sanitisation of public spaces.
- Developed In-house hand sanitizer and provided nearly 73,000 litres to Indian Armed forces, Armed Forces Medical Corps, Defence Security Corps, MoD, Parliament, and to various security establishments and high offices. The cost of sanitiser is less than Rs 12/litre (including GST).
- Provided 20,000 three ply masks to Delhi Police.
- Innovation on to create ‘Multi patient ventilator’ wherein several patients can be supported by a single ventilator. Around 5,000 ventilators will be produced in the first month and 10,000 subsequently.
- Developed Five layer N99 masks with two layers of nano mesh with Capacity to make 10,000 N99 masks per day.
- Developed Body Suits for medical and paramedical staff
- Society for Biomedical Technology (SBMT) – A DRDO funded and managed initiative) & DEBEL, Bangalore have developed a ventilator and technology is transferred to Industry. Defence PSU, M/s BEL has joined the efforts for large scale production of ventilators.
- DEBEL, Bangalore has undertaken the initiative to develop the critical components of the ventilators which are not available in the country. These will be produced with the help of industry.
- Two laboratories of DRDO are ready to function as test centers for detection of Covid19. Once approved, these laboratories can undertake 700 tests per day.
- Sixty two Cantonment Boards spread over 19 States/Union Territories, across the country, with a population of approx. 21 lakh (including military and civil) geared up to the challenge posed by Novel Coronavirus
- Instructions issued to all the Cantonment Boards to identify beds in hospitals/health centres and guest houses for any eventuality.
DPSUs/ORDNANCE FACTORY BOARD
- Ordnance Factory Board designated 285 beds for isolation wards in handling COVID-19 cases.
- The OFB has manufactured and dispatched 50 specialised tents for COVID-19 patients to Government of Arunachal Pradesh at a short notice.
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Bengaluru, has isolation ward facility with three beds in Intensive Care Unit and 30 beds in wards. In addition, a building having 30 rooms was readied. In all, 93 persons can be accommodated at HAL facility.
- Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has stepped in to manufacture and supply 30,000 ventilators designed DRDO within the next two months.
- Ordnance Equipment Factories located at Kanpur, Shahjahanpur, Hazratpur (Firozabad) and Chennai are engaged in developing coverall and masks. They have also arranged special heat sealing machines for manufacture of these garments at a very short notice. Commenced bulk production of coveralls up to 5,000 to 6,000 pieces per week.
- Development and production of hand sanitizer as per WHO standards have been undertaken in the factories of OFB. So far various units of OFB have produced 83,000 litres of sanitizer, 2, 86,000 masks, 7,000 PPEs and supplied to HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), the nodal agency appointed by Government of India for centralised procurement.
- Offered its volunteer cadets for national duty to fight COVID-19 under ‘Ex NCC Yogdan’. Up to April 20, approx 6000 cadets have been employed countrywide in all States/UT’s mainly to assist the district administration in works like traffic management, distribution of food and essential items, management of queues, supply chain management, sensitization of public about social distancing and lockdown, manning CCTV control rooms and preparation and packaging of food items.
- Department of Ex-Servicemen welfare (ESW) took the initiative to mobilise services of Ex-Servicemen (ESM) community to assist the State and District administration, wherever required.
- Ex-Servicemen have started playing their part in providing succour to people in their fight against COVID-19 in the States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttarakhand and North East.
MINISTRY of DEFENCE (MoD)
MoD employees from various wings, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Defence PSUs and others, will contribute one day salary to PM-CARES Fund; Rs 500 crore contribution expected.
RAKSHA MANTRI SHRI RAJNATH SINGH
· Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh provided the guidance and leadership in steering MoD’s assistance to the civilian authorities to fight COVID-19.
· Raksha Mantri held series of review meetings with various arms/ services / DPSUs to review their respective action plans, to gear up preparedness and provide all required assistance to civilian authorities.
· Raksha Mantri chaired GoM Meetings on 25th March and 1st, 3rd and 7th, ,18th,, 21st April 2020.
- Six naval ships are kept ready for assistance to neighbouring countries. Five medical teams are also on standby for deployment in Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan.
- Special flights of Indian Air Force evacuated people and carried medical supplies. A C-17 Globemaster III comprising of crew, medical team and support staff has carried 15 tonnes of medical supplies to China and airlifted 125 persons on its return.
- The C-17 Globemaster III made another journey, this time to Iran and brought back 58 stranded Indians. The aircraft also brought 529 samples for COVID-19 investigation.
- The C-130J Super Hercules aircraft has ferried around 6.2 tonnes of medicines to Maldives. An Army Medical Corps team consisted of five doctors, two nursing officers and seven paramedics was deployed in Maldives for capacity building measures and assist in setting up their own testing, treatment and quarantine facilities between March 13-21, 2020.