Punjab government ramps up covid-19 fight, builds large stocks of life-saving equipment
Ropes in local manufacturers for critical supplies, 10 lakh hazmat armour suits ordered from JCT after approval
Chandigarh: To prepare for any COVID-19 related contingency, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh is aggressively building up its stocks of life-saving equipment such as masks, gloves, ventilators, PPE kits etc, with large quantities of these materials already in stock and many more expected to be available over the next few days.
By March 31, the state will have another 25000 N95 masks, in addition to the 52500 it already has in stock, along with 1 lakh Nitrile gloves. While the state government already has at its disposal 26,32,000 Triple Layer Masks, another 12 lakh will get added to the inventory by April 1, according to Additional Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan.
As far as the much-needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits, the government has ordered a total of 1 lakh, of which 7640 have already been received, said Mahajan, adding that all efforts were being made to procure the balance at the earliest. Other critical supplies already available with the government include 10425 hand sanitisers and 17000 VTM kits, with 2000 and 10000 more, respectively, already on the way and expected to be added to the inventory by April 1. The government is also procuring the much-needed ventilators for handling critical cases, she added.
Other materials being procured by the government to combat the Coronavirus crisis include the Automated Mid-High Nucleic Acid Purification machines, along with large quantities of Azithromycin & HydroxyChloroquine tablets, besides Laryngoscopes - Pediatric and Adult, Ambu Bags - Pediatric & Adult, Portable X-ray machines and ABG Eltrolyte Analyzers. These are in addition to the Urine analysers and Fully Automated Biochemistry Analysers which are already available with the state, according to Mahajan.
Talking about equipment already made operational, Vini Mahajan said that 1,06,000 TLMs, 45,000 Azithromycin Tablets, besides 30,000 Gloves, 4510 N 95 Masks and 1200 each of PPE & VTM Kits have been made available with the Government Medical College at Amritsar.
Similarly, the Government Medical College Patiala has received 1,21,500 TLMs, 30,000 Gloves, 3100 N 95 Masks and 800 Sanitizers. GMC Faridkot has got 1,00,000 TLMs, 30,000 Gloves besides 1800 N 95 Masks, 1200 VTM and 800 sanitizers.
In addition, 8000 tablets each of ARV (Ritonovir and Liponovir) have been provided to these three medical facilities. Besides 36,000 TLMs and 5000 Azithromycin tablets, MS Gian Sagar Hospital has been provided 280 N95 Masks and 210 VTM Kits, according to the ACS.
To reduce dependence on outside vendors Government has roped in local manufacturers, she said, adding that samples prepared by them were at present in testing phase. Business to business tie ups were being facilitated, as a result of which 10 lakh pieces of indigenously made hazmat armour suits had been ordered by the central government from JCT Mills, said Mahajan, adding that to facilitate testing of these suits, the Punjab Police had taken samples through the lockdown to Delhi from where they were taken to the Central testing laboratory at Coimbatore via a special flight.
Samples of PPEs and N95 masks designed and made at six more Punjab units had left for Coimbatore and Gwalior respectively for testing, while two local entrepreneurs had come forward with proposals for making ventilators, said the ACS.
The state was also in continuous discussion with the Health Ministry and other central ministries involved in regulatory clearances, to hand hold the entrepreneurs and fast track clearances to enable Made in Punjab ventilators, she said, adding that the state government will ensure immediate orders for these as soon as the clearances come in.
The Industry Department was extending full support, in the form of packaging material and transportation, to the various industries engaged in manufacturing essential items like sanitizers, masks ,food items, pharmaceuticals, etc, said Mahajan.
All necessary support was also being extend to the Communications systems, including Broadband, ISP etc, said the ACS.
Assuring the people of the state's full preparedness to tackle any eventuality, Mahajan said as per the directives issued by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the state was aggressively focussing on prevention and treatment of infection. She appealed to people to exercise restraint and maintain social distancing protocols to assist in flattening the curve.