New Delhi: As the country entered day two of the 21-day lockdown to contain Coronavirus, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday asked prime minister Narendra Modi to ensure that frontline health workers and doctors are provided with adequate supply of personal protective equipment like masks and Hazmat suits. She also sought a six-month “risk allowance” for the healthcare professionals beginning March 1.
In a letter to Mr Modi, the Congress president welcomed the 21-day lockdown announced by him and said that the entire nation stands as one in solidarity in the fight to halt and defeat the Corona pandemic.
“As president of the Indian National Congress, I would like to state that we will support and collaborate fully with every step taken by the Union Government to ensure the containment of the pandemic,” she said.
She said that as has been announced that the Union Government has allocated Rs.15,000 Crore to fight the Coronavirus, including meeting the requirements of our doctors, nurses and health professionals. “I would like to re-emphasize the urgent need to arm our doctors, nurses and health workers with ‘Personal Protection Equipment’ including N-95 masks and hazmat suits”.
She also sought the scaling up of manufacture and supply of these items so that not a single health professional faces the predicament of contracting or passing on COVID-19 owing to unavailability of ‘Personal Protection Equipment’.
Mrs Gandhi also asked the PM to address the uncertainty about designated hospitals and their locations and the number of beds, isolation chambers, ventilators, dedicated medical teams, medical supplies etc.
“This has been caused by a paucity of information. Disseminating all essential information, including the locations of designated hospitals and their emergency phone line numbers is essential to facilitate management of the pandemic. A dedicated portal for sharing these and all other necessary information is one way forward,” she said.
She also reiterated that the 21-day Lockdown comes at the peak of the harvesting season. The agricultural crop is ready for harvesting in most states by the end of March.
“With nearly 60 percent of India’s population being economically dependent on agriculture, it is imperative that the Union Government should take necessary steps to enable harvesting and procurement of crops at MSP”.