The union cabinet on Wednesday approved Rs 15,000 crore for 'India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package'. The cabinet meeting which was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi sanctioned funds to limit the spread of coronavirus in the country through diagnostics and other treatment facilities. "The funds sanctioned will be utilised in 3 Phases and for immediate COVID-19 Emergency Response (an amount of Rs. 7,774 Crore) has been provisioned and rest for medium-term support (1-4 years)to be provided under mission mode approach," the government said in a statement. A major share of the funds would be used to mount robust emergency response, strengthen national and state health systems followed by boosting pandemic research, it added.
The government has already undertaken several activities in Phase 1 including strengthening health facilities as coronavirus dedicated hospitals, health centers and care centers. "All health workers including Community Health Volunteers (ASHAs) have been covered with insurance under the "Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers lighting COVID-19". Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), N95 masks and ventilators, testing kits and drugs for treatment are being procured centrally," it said.
Meanwhile, India recorded 1,383 fresh coronavirus cases and 50 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the country's tally near 20,000-mark. The total number of confirmed cases now stand at 19,984 as of date, according to the Health Ministry. These include, 15,474 activecases, 3,869 cured/discharged, 1 migrated and 640 deaths. Maharashtra is at the top with 5,218 coronavirus cases, the highest in India so far, while the state's death toll is at 251. The state recorded 552 fresh cases and 19 deaths on Tuesday out of which 419 were from Mumbai. Delhi has slipped on third spot with 2,156 v