Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday assured West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of all help to fight Covid in the state.
In a letter to Banerjee, who has just taken over for her third stint in power, he said that since the very onset of the pandemic, the Centre has been supporting each and every state across the country not just financially, but also through requisite diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, vaccines and other essential material and services.
Earlier, Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to issue instructions for immediate allocation of at least 550 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to the state.
Posting his four-page letter to Banerjee, Harsh Vardhan tweeted: “Diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines, oxygen,or augmenting health infra. Rest assured Mamata Didi, whatever West Bengal needs, Narendra ModiJi’s Government stands resolute to provide, in order to help it effectively fight Covid 19 pandemic.”
Referring to her letter to the Prime Minister, he said: “First of all, I would like to point out the high test positivity rates in many districts of the state, which is over 40 per cent in some districts. As you have been the Health Minister yourself, you will appreciate that this means that testing needs to be significantly ramped up. We wish the state of West Bengal is ahead of the curve when it comes to tracking infection, by testing more.”
On the need to augment the health infrastructure in the state, he suggested that West Bengal may look at various innovations being done across the country to increase availability of beds and healthcare facilities.
Listing the Centre’s support, he wrote that as on date, West Bengal has already been provided a total of 1,18,83,340 vaccine doses and further 2,00,000 doses are in the pipeline for immediate supply.
“Government of India has so far provided West Bengal with 18.38 lakh N95 masks, 4.84 lakh PPE kits, 1,245 ventilators and 43.5 lakh Hydroxychloroquine tablets for management of Covid-19 pandemic,” he noted.
On Centre’s help to meet the state’s oxygen requirement, he wrote: “As many as five Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants have been sanctioned for West Bengal, out of which two have already been installed and made functional. Similarly, 849 D-Type and 1,504 B-Type oxygen cylinders have been allocated to West Bengal. Out of this, 700 will be delivered on or before May 21. This entire support has been provided free of cost.”
“In view of the recent surge in Covid cases across the country, demand for drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab has increased substantially. As many as 94,400 vials of Remdesivir have, accordingly, been allocated to West Bengal for the period April 21, 2021 to May 9, 2021. On the Tocilizumab front, the Central government is making all efforts for equitable availability across the country, based on the active case load in each state.”
The Health Minister said that apart from the delivery of these essential medical devices and drugs, West Bengal has been supported with a financial grant of Rs 295.28 crore under the Covid-19 package.
On oxygen, he said: “West Bengal has been allocated 308 MT of oxygen to meet the demand from April 25 onwards. In this regard, we had allocated the maximum possible amount to West Bengal at the time of the issue of the aforesaid order.”
He said that the Indian Council of Medical Research has facilitated setting up 74 Covid testing labs in the government sector and 54 labs in the private sector.
“I assure you that the Centre is committed to taking all required steps to help the states in their fight against Covid-19 and shall continue to hand-hold them during this challenging time of the pandemic by providing requisite resources,” he said.