Armed Forces help in the fight against COVID-19

Kriti Mishra

New Delhi: India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat interacts with media after inspecting the Guard of Honour at South Block, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat. (PTI Photo)

The Indian Armed forces are all set to take on an invisible enemy, the novel Coronavirus, with all its personnel, machines and resources. The defence establishment is playing a critical role to help India deal with the COVID 19 crisis.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs and other Department head briefed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh about their decision through video conferencing on Wednesday.

Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat said over 9,000 hospital beds have been made available to deal with COVID-19.

Army Chief General M M Naravane informed that more than 8,500 doctors and support staff will assist the civilian administration. All field hospitals of the Army have been told to be ready to set up beds and create intensive care units, exclusively for COVID-19 patients.

The Army’s agile Quick Reaction Medical Teams are on the standby to be mobilised at six-hours notice to meet any requirement of civil administration. The Army has taken several preventive measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, including setting up isolation wards at peripheral hospitals in formations along the Line of Control with Pakistan and the Line of Actual Control on the China border.

The Air Force is carrying on its all critical operational work while ensuring all necessary precautions. Chief Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria said that in the last five days, Air Force planes transported approximately 25 tonnes of medical supplies.

The Indian Air Force has undertaken at least two missions to evacuate Indian nationals and citizens of friendly countries from COVID-19 frontlines of China, Japan and Iran.

The IAF has created quarantine facilities of 200-300 personnel capacity each at its nodal bases across the country to combat COVID-19.

Admiral Karambir Singh has stated that naval ships are also on the standby to extend assistance. The Indian Navy has set up a quarantine camp at its bases.

To cater to the requirement of oxygen supply for COVID-19 patients, personnel from Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam have designed an innovative “portable multi-feed oxygen manifold using a six-way radial header fitted to a single-cylinder”. After successful trials, the dockyard has started manufacturing of the oxygen cylinder that can cater to six patients at one time.

The Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force, as well as defence ministry staff, have donated a day’s salary totalling around Rs 500 crore to the relief fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help fight the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.