New Delhi: Armed Forces have been working round-the-clock to provide medical and logistics support to the needy to contain COVID-19 pandemic. Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) has deployed its resources to aid the civilian authorities at this crucial time. Armed Forces are running six quarantine facilities at Mumbai, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Hindon, Manesar and Chennai. One thousand seven hundred thirty-seven persons have been handled at these centres, of which 403 have been released so far. Three positive COVID cases two from Hindan and one from Manesar were referred to Safdarjung Hospital in the national capital for further treatment. In addition, 15 other facilities are being kept ready as standby for use, if required.
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. Some of these facilities are located at Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Dundigal near Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kanpur, Jaisalmer, Jorhat and Gorakhpur.
Five viral testing labs at Armed Forces hospitals which can carry out COVID-19 test have been made part of the national grid. These include Army Hospital (Research & Referral), Delhi Cantt; Air Force Command Hospital, Bangalore and Armed Forces Medical College, Pune; Command Hospital (Central Command), Lucknow and Command Hospital (Northern Command), Udhampur. Six more hospitals are being equipped shortly with the resources to begin COVID-19 testing.
Special flights of Indian Air Force have evacuated people and carried medical supplies. A C-17 Globemaster III comprising of the 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. The C-17 Globemaster III has made another journey, this time 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 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft has ferried around 6.2 tonnes of medicines to the Maldives. An Army Medical Corps team consisted of five doctors, two nursing officers and seven paramedics was deployed in the Maldives for capacity building measures and assist in setting up their own testing, treatment and quarantine facilities between March 13-21, 2020.
Transport fleet of IAF is being used to assist in the transportation of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment. So far, approximately 60 tonnes of stores have been airlifted to various parts of the country. Twenty-eight fixed-wing and 21 helicopters are on standby at various locations across the country.
Six naval ships are kept ready for assistance to neighbouring countries. Five medical teams are also on standby for deployment in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan.