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Subadh Kumar Nayak

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday urged the public and private sectors to work in alliance and build on the strengths of each other to tackle novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

"It is time for public and private sectors to come together and work as an alliance in the spirit of collaboration and co-ordination for collective efforts towards COVID-19 management," he said after holding a high-level meeting with owners and heads of private hospitals of Delhi-NCR.

The minister discussed the preparedness in terms of bed capacity of hospitals for infected cases, isolation wards, protocols for sample collection and testing, protocols for outdoor patients among others.

According to an official statement, private hospitals of Delhi-NCR were asked to create a pool of beds. The NITI Aayog would support the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and private hospitals in doing so, so that the data of availability of beds along with the requisite trained manpower is known, it said.

Collaboration on sample collection and testing was also discussed, wherein Secretary, MoHFW stated that 35 labs have been identified across the country, number of which will be increased to more than 100 in the coming days, the statement said.

A presentation was made about the current situation and ongoing activities of COVID-19 management in the country.

Vardhan said with the collective efforts of the central ministries and states/UTs, precautionary measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

He said states continue to be on high alert regarding prevention, community surveillance and effective hospital management.

The Union minister said it is during times like these, when the public and private sector can form an alliance and work towards shared goals in public interest, pooling in collective resources and building on the strengths of each other.

The hospitals informed the government that they have taken up various outreach activities for enhancing awareness among their hospital staff, the statement stated.

They also volunteered to enhance awareness among the communities through their own efforts as well.

Vardhan added that it was also important for people to access authentic and credible sources of information regarding the disease.

A man from Ghaziabad with a recent travel history to Iran has tested positive for novel coronavirus, taking the total number of such cases in the country to 30 as the government on Thursday asked states to form rapid response teams at district, block and village levels.


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