Government Says 174 Doctors, 116 Nurses, 199 Health Workers Died Due To Covid-19
Health workers stand next to volunteers during a nationwide trial of a Covid-19 vaccine delivery system at a vaccination center set up in Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Government Says 174 Doctors, 116 Nurses, 199 Health Workers Died Due To Covid-19

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A total of 174 doctors, 116 nurses and 199 healthcare workers have died due to Covid-19 in the country, the government informed Lok Sabha on Friday citing data from states received under an insurance scheme.

In written reply to a question, Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey said that duly implementing a series of containment measures including lockdown and promotion of Covid-19-appropriate behaviours, India has been able to successfully manage and blunt the aggressive progression of the virus.

Elaborating on the measures taken to contain the pandemic, the minister said dedicated health infrastructure focused on Covid-19 was identified and earmarked to manage surge in cases.

"Based on the intimations received from the states under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers fighting Covid-19, 174 doctors, 116 nurses and 199 healthcare workers have died due to this pandemic as on Feb. 2," the minister said.

As on Feb. 3, there are 15,17,506 isolation beds and 79,385 ICU beds with 40,311 ventilators available in the country, he said.

Currently, 1,214 government and 1,152 private laboratories are undertaking COVID-19 testing.

"As of now the case per million and death per million in the country are 7,719 and 111, respectively which is much lower compared to the status in many developed countries also," he said.

Necessary monitoring is being undertaken for Covid-19 on a regular basis, Choubey said.

Responding to a question on the number of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers engaged in various government hospitals for Covid-19 duty, Choubey said that as health is a state subject, there is no centralised data being maintained by the Ministry of Health on it.

An additional incentive of Rs 1,000 per month is being paid to Accredited Social Health Activists in view of their significant contribution towards the pandemic-related work.

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP): Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting Covid-19 was launched with effect from March 30 in 2020 to provide comprehensive personal accident cover of Rs 50 lakh to around 22.12 lakh healthcare providers, including community health workers and private health workers drafted by the government for Covid-19-related responsibilities.

The Ministry of Health provided guideline on infection prevention and control practices to the state governments to minimise the risk of infection to healthcare workers.

The Ministry of Health in consultation with the Department of Personnel and Training has also directed state governments to consider quarantine period of healthcare workers as "on duty".

Also read: India Gets Lion’s Share of Covax Shots Despite Tepid Demand

The Union Ministry of Health has also issued direction to the chief secretaries of states and union territories on provision for accommodation facilities for quarantine of healthcare workers. Guidelines on rational use of PPE for hospital and community settings were issued.

These guidelines followed a risk-based approach and recommended type of PPE that needs to be used in high and low risk areas. The healthcare workers were provided with hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis and prevention of infection. An advisory to that effect was also issued by the ministry on March 23, 2020.

States are being supported in terms of supply of logistics, Choubey said.

So far 1.69 crore PPE Kits, 4.08 crore N-95 masks, 11.16 crore tablets of Hydroxychloroquine have been supplied to states, UTs and central government hospitals.

Also read: Covid-19 Vaccine: Pfizer Withdraws Emergency Use Authorisation Application In India

In the context of Covid-19, the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated on April 22 last year. Further this ordinance was brought before Parliament, passed and notified on Sept. 29.

The amendment provides for safety and security of healthcare service personnel from acts of violence.

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