New Delhi: The Centre is planning to face the third wave of Covid-19 with a package that can have the union government spend more than Rs 20,000 crore. The package will focus on improving healthcare infrastructure, such as expanding dedicated treatment facilities, increasing hospital beds, and increasing procurement of critical medical equipment and drugs.
According to reports, the Centre is preparing an Emergency Covid Response Preparedness (ECRP-2) package worth more than Rs 20,000 crore to combat a potential third wave of infections in the country.
According to the Economic Times, a senior government official, “The idea is to prepare in advance for another possible wave and halt its spread.”
The health and finance ministries are currently finalising the details of the package, which will be announced once Cabinet approval is obtained. The package is intended to supplement Covid dedicated treatment facilities, including increasing hospital beds, strengthening procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs, strengthening national and state health infrastructure, and establishing more laboratories and testing centres, according to the financial daily.
The news comes amid warnings of a potential third Covid wave, as well as the emergence of the Delta Plus variant, which the government has labelled a “variant of concern.”
Cases of this variant have so far been concentrated in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Kerala, and the Centre has requested that the states increase their efforts in containment, testing, and vaccination.
According to the official, the ECRP-2 initiatives would be implemented under the ministry of health and family welfare, and a large sum could be disbursed to the ICMR and other institutions.
Funding and strengthening pandemic research is likely to be a priority, as genome sequencing will aid in the identification and tracking of new variants, increasing the country’s ability to forecast future infection spread.
This will help to avoid a crisis similar to the one that occurred during the second wave.
During April-May, the country’s health infrastructure proved woefully inadequate to deal with an increase in infections, hospitalisations, and deaths as the pandemic tragically exposed a shortage of doctors, hospital beds, essential medicines, and oxygen cylinders.
“One thing we have learnt is that this is a dynamic situation and even as we line up a strategy, what we need is agility in responding to the evolving situation,” the official quoted earlier told the financial daily.