Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that together India had defeated Covid-19 last year and the country can do it again, with the same principles but faster speed and coordination. The Prime Minister said this while chairing a meeting to review the status of preparedness to handle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Various aspects relating to medicines, oxygen, ventilators and vaccination were discussed during the meeting. PM Modi stressed that there is no substitute to testing, tracking and treatment. He said, early testing and proper tracking remains key to reduce mortality. The Prime Minister said that local administrations need to be proactive and sensitive to people’s concerns.

The Prime Minister directed that close coordination with States must be ensured in handling the pandemic. He said that all necessary measures must be taken to ramp up the availability of hospital beds for Covid patients. The Prime Minister also directed that additional supply of beds through temporary hospitals and isolation centres should be ensured.

PM Modi also spoke about the need to utilize the full potential of India’s pharmaceutical industry to meet the rising demand of various medicines. He reviewed the status of supply of Remdesivir drug and other medicines. The Prime Minister was briefed on actions taken to address the issue of availability of Remdesivir. Through the efforts of the Government, capacity and production augmentation for manufacturing of Remdesivir drug has been ramped up to provide around 74.10 lakh vials per month in May while the normal production output in January-February being just 27 to 29 lakh vials per month.

Supplies have also increased from nearly 68 thousand vials on 11th April going up to over 2 lakh 6 thousand vials on 15th of this month which are being particularly focused on states with high caseload and high demand. PM Modi took note of the ramped up production capacity and directed that issues relating to real-time supply chain management to States must be resolved urgently in coordination with the States.

The Prime Minister directed that use of Remdesivir and other medicines must be in accordance with approved medical guidelines and that their misuse and black marketing must be strictly curbed.

On the issue of supply of medical oxygen, PM Modi directed that the installation of approved medical oxygen plants should be sped up. 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA)Oxygen plants are being installed in 32 States and Union Territories from PM CARES fund. The officials informed that 1 lakh cylinders are being procured and they will be supplied to states soon.

The officers briefed the Prime Minister that they are in constant supply with 12 high burden states in assessing the current and future requirement of medical oxygen. A supply mapping plan for 12 high burden states till 30th of this month has also been undertaken.

The Prime Minister also said that supply of oxygen required for production of medicines and equipments necessary to handle the pandemic should also be ensured.

PM Modi also reviewed the status of availability and supply of ventilators. On the issue of vaccination, the Prime Minister directed all officials to make efforts to utilize the entire national capacity in public as well as private sector to ramp up vaccine production.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Dr P K Mishra, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Pharma Secretary S Aparna and Member Health in NITI Aayog Dr V K Paul were present at the meeting.

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