India Activates Its Military Assets for Efforts Against COVID-19 in Indian Ocean
13:23 GMT 03.04.2020
New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian armed forces have reportedly been working 24/7 to provide medical and logistics support to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Indian Health Ministry, over 50 people have already lost their lives due to the virus.
Twenty eight fixed wing aircraft (mix of An 32, C 17, Dorniers and C 130J) and 21 helicopters are on a standby at various locations across the country for efforts against COVID-19, India's Ministry of Defence revealed on Friday.
According to the ministry, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has also arranged special flights to evacuate people and carry medical supplies.
"A C-17 Globemaster III comprising of crew, medical team and support staff has carried 15 tonnes of medical supplies to China and airlifted 125 persons, including five children comprising Indian nationals and few citizens from friendly countries on its return. It made another journey to Iran and brought back 58 stranded Indians that included 31 women and two children. The aircraft has also brought 529 samples for COVID-19 investigation," the ministry stated.
The statement from the defence ministry also disclosed that a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft has ferried around 6.2 tonnes of medicines to the Maldives.
"An Army Medical Corps team consisting five doctors, two nursing officers and seven paramedics was deployed in Maldives for capacity building measures and assist in setting up their own testing, treatment and quarantine facilities between March 13-21, 2020," the statement added.
The ministry also stated they it has kept six Indian naval ships for assistance to neighbouring countries if requested.
Five Indian medical teams are on standby for deployment to the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan.
Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 in India on 30 January, the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) has deployed its resources to aid the civilian authorities.
"Armed Forces are running six quarantine facilities at Mumbai, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Hindon, Manesar and Chennai. 1,737 persons have been handled at these centres, of which 403 have been released so far. In addition, 15 other facilities are being kept ready as standby for use, if required," the statement said.
The ministry also revealed that dedicated COVID-19 facilities including High Dependency Units, Intensive Care Unit beds are being prepared in 51 hospitals of the Armed Forces across the country.
"Five viral testing labs at Armed Forces hospitals which can carry out COVID-19 test have been made part of national grid. Six more hospitals are being equipped shortly with the resources to begin COVID-19 testing," it said.
Over 50 people have lost their lives to infection, while India has also reported more than 2,000 positive cases till date, according to federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry statistics.
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