The Union health ministry has asked all states and Union Territories to seek the services of ENT specialists and resident doctors to fight novel coronavirus, saying there is an urgent need of qualified personnel to collect samples for Covid-19 testing. In a letter addressed to all chief secretaries and principal secretaries (health), the ministry underlined that the country is in the midst of an unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19 and one of the key components of the government's strategy to combat it is contact tracing and collection of throat and swab samples of potentially infected persons.
"There is an urgent need of trained and qualified personnel to collect these samples and the number of such persons needs to be augmented significantly," the ministry said in its letter. "All states/UTs are therefore requested to organise collection of Covid-19 case samples by using the services of ENT specialists and residents," it said.
It has advised officials concerned to issue necessary instructions to the medical institutions to ensure action on these lines so that such samples are taken professionally. "All medical colleges may be instructed to get in touch with state governments to offer their services. It is requested that necessary action in this regard may be taken urgently under report to this ministry," the letter stated.
More than 30,000 doctors, including those from Armed Forces Medical Services, have volunteered to help the government in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior government official said on Friday.
The government on March 25 had appealed to retired government, Armed Forces Medical Services, public sector undertaking or private doctors to come forward and join the efforts to fight the pandemic.
The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 242 and the number of cases climbed to 7,529 in the country on Saturday, according to the health ministry.
However, a PTI tally of figures reported by various states at 9 PM Saturday showed at least 8,320 cases and 287 deaths.
There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the number of cases announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.
INDIA CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: BusinessToday.In brings you a daily tracker as coronavirus cases continue to spread. Here is the state-wise data on total cases, fatalities and recoveries in one comprehensive graphic.