Dr. Harsh Vardhan emphasizes accessing Health Ministry and related authentic websites to avoid misinformation regarding COVID-19
New Delhi: A high level meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 was held at Nirman Bhawan, here today, under the chairpersonship of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare. Sh. Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Sh. Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping, & Chemical and Fertilizers and Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare were present, along with Dr. Vinod K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and Sh. Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) had detailed deliberation on containment and management of COVID-19. The GoM also discussed the actions taken so far, current status of social distancing measures as a preventive strategy and the stringent actions taken by the Centre as well as the States to contain the spread of COVID-19. GoM was informed that all districts have been asked to prepare and strengthen their contingency plans to combat COVID-19. Several other measures about strengthening capacity of states including devoting adequate resources for creating dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, equipping the medical institutes with PPEs, ventilators and other essential equipment etc., were also discussed in detail. States have been asked to identify COVID-19 centres/hospitals according to already laid guidelines.
GoM also reviewed the testing strategy and availability of testing kits across the country along with the strategy for hotspots and cluster management. GoM was apprised regarding the adequacy and availability of PPEs, masks, ventilators, drugs and other essential equipment against the requirement. GoM was informed that domestic manufactures have been identified for production of PPEs and orders have been placed. In addition, order for ventilators has been placed. GoM was briefed about the number of public and private labs presently testing for COVID-19 along with the number of tests that are being conducted every day through this network of labs. GoM also reviewed the status of implementation of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. GoM expressed satisfaction over the work done by the Ministries and the Empowered Groups.
Chairperson of the GoM and the Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also reiterated his appeal to everyone to not ostracise doctors and other medical staff who are on the forefront of this health emergency and serving to save us from COVID-19. We should also avoid spreading rumours or un-authenticated information, he added. “The websites of the Health Ministry (www.mohfw.gov.in), ICMR (www.icmr.nic.in), PIB (www.pib.gov.in) and other Central Ministries are the authentic sources of information on COVID-19, and these need to be accessed for any information regarding COVID-19 related technical issues, guidelines, advisories and management. The Ministry website is the authentic and complete source of information for the citizens, states/UTs, hospitals and other stakeholders”, he stated. For technical queries related to COVID-19, emails may be sent at email@example.com, he added.
Dr Harsh Vardhan reiterated that detailed advisories and guidelines for who should use which type of mask and who should use PPE have been posted on the Ministry website, and awareness regarding this is also being created through IEC campaigns. He also added that social distancing and isolation are the most effective social vaccines against COVID-19 and appealed to everyone to follow protocol of personal hygiene and respiratory protocols during the lockdown period.
Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary, (HFW), Sh. Ravi Capoor, Secretary (Textiles), Sh Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary (Civil Aviation), Sh. C. K. Mishra, Secretary (Environment, Forest & Climate Change), Sh. P. D. Vaghela, Secretary (Pharmaceuticals), Sh. Sanjeeva Kumar, Spl. Secretary (Health), Sh. Anil Malik, Addl. Secy (MHA), Sh. K Rajaraman, Addl. Secretary (Economic Affairs), Dr. Rajiv Garg, DGHS, Sh. Amit Yadav, DG (DGFT) , Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, ICMR and Sh. Lav Agarwal, JS (MoHFW) along with other officials from Army, ITBP, Pharma, DGCA and Textiles were also present.
In case of any queries on COVID-19, please call at Ministry of Health & Family Welfare helpline no. : +91-11-23978046 or 1075 (Toll-free). List of helpline numbers of States/UTs on COVID-19 is also available at https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/coronvavirushelplinenumber.pdf .