Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank and President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Uday Kotak has said that strong of steps are required to curb the spread of coronavirus amid a deadly second wave. He suggested curtailing economic activity to reduce suffering. Kotak said that safeguarding lives is more important at this point.
"Given the current pandemic situation, safeguarding lives is of utmost priority and nationwide maximal response measure at the highest level is called for to cut the transmission links. The healthcare infrastructure and supply build-up are being undertaken on emergency basis by the governments at the centre and states, but will take time. At this critical juncture when toll of lives is rising, CII urges the strongest national steps including curtailing economic activity to reduce suffering," he said in a statement by the industry body.
The CII chief further warned that the current pace, requirement of hospital and ICU beds, oxygen and medicines will only continue to escalate. Kotak added that even though healthcare and frontline workers are giving their best efforts, it might not be possible for them to manage the escalating caseloads. "We must heed expert advice on this subject -- from India and abroad. Highest response measures are needed to break the chain of contagion and also use the time to rapidly build up capacity," Kotak added.
Uday Kotak said that the current maxim should be 'no one is safe, unless everyone is safe'.
The industry body gave a few more suggestions. It suggested that armed forces and central security forces must be deployed for logistics, infrastructure and personnel, medical facilities must be initiated with armed forces and paramilitary forces using existing infrastructure facilities like school and college premises, sheds, parks with tents as COVID-19 care facilities. Security at hospitals must be strengthened for medical personnel and to protect people and property. Manpower resources such as retired medical personnel, doctors and nurses must be tapped into and nursing or medical students who have finished GNM/BSC training can be roped in. It suggested offering training in short courses, and encouraging NRIs working as doctors and nurses to return for a national cause.
Kotak further suggested creating a central asset mapping control team to monitor supply of various essential critical care items. "Transportation must also be put in place for supplying the required medical drugs and oxygen on a continuous basis to districts where requirements are high, including Railways and road corridors with minimal state border delays. Transport arrangements for oxygen supplies linking to nearby factories is critical," he said. Scaling up of RT-PCR tests, ramping up domestic manufacturing of testing kits and using vacant educational institution premises for community testing facilities are some of the suggestions offered by the body.