Central Government on Thursday announced that ₹15,000 crore has been sanctioned to States under the India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package.
The 100% centrally-funded scheme will be utilised for immediate COVID-19 Emergency Response (amount of ₹7774 crore) and rest for medium-term support (1-4 years). This is to be provided under a mission mode approach.
Announcing this on Thursday, the Union Health Ministry noted that key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit COVID-19 in India through the development of diagnostics and dedicated treatment facilities.
“We also expect States to use this money for centralised procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs required for treatment of infected patients, strengthen and build health systems to support prevention and preparedness for future disease outbreaks, setting up of laboratories and bolster surveillance activities, bio-security preparedness, pandemic research and proactively engage communities and conduct risk communication activities,” Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said.
A release issued by the Ministry added that it was authorised to re-appropriate resources among components of the package and among the various implementation agencies — the National Health Mission, Central Procurement, Railways, Dept of Health Research/ICMR, National Centre for Disease Control — as per the evolving situation.
Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India |State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates |Helpline numbers
“We have now rapidly increased our health sector response with the rise in number of COVID-19 cases. As on date, a total of 223 labs comprising a network of 157 government and 66 private laboratories are conducting rigorous screening process. Also we has already disbursed ₹4113 crore to all the States and UTs for dealing with the emergency COVID response,” the release added.
“The allotment will allow for rapidly ramping up the number of corona testing facilities, buying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), isolation beds, ICU beds, ventilators and other essential equipment. The major share of the expenditure will be used for mounting robust emergency response, strengthening pandemic research, community engagement and risk communication and implementation, management, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation component,” he added.