New Delhi: Fifty-one hospitals of the armed forces are being readied to provide treatment to coronavirus-affected people as India reels under rising cases of the pandemic. Military officials said five viral testing laboratories of the services, capable of carrying out COVID-19 tests, have been made part of the national grid testing samples of suspected cases.

These include Army Hospital (Research and Referral) in Delhi, Air Force Command Hospital in Bengaluru, Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, Command Hospital in Lucknow and Command Hospital in Udhampur.

Six more hospitals are being readied with infrastructure to carry out COVID-19 testing.

India has witnessed a spike in positive cases of coronavirus in the last few days though the overall increase has been stable compared to several countries. India recorded over 2,500 positive cases and at least 62 deaths so far. Globally, the virus has infected more than one million people and claimed over 50,000 lives.

“Dedicated COVID-19 facilities including high dependency units, intensive care unit beds are being prepared in 51 hospitals of the armed forces across the country. At present, armed forces are running six quarantine facilities at Mumbai,” a defence ministry spokesperson said.

He said some of these hospitals are located at Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Dundigal, Bengaluru, Kanpur, Jaisalmer, Jorhat and Gorakhpur.

A total of 1,737 people have been handled by these centres and 403 of them have been released so far.

The transport fleet of IAF is being used to assist in transportation of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment.

So far, approximately 60 tonnes of supplies have been airlifted to various parts of the country, officials said.

Twenty eight fixed wing and 21 helicopters are also kept on standby at various locations across the country for any possible eventualities.

Officials said six naval ships are kept ready to provide assistance to neighbouring countries.

Five medical teams are also on standby for deployment in Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan.

The IAF’s C-130J Super Hercules aircraft has ferried around 6.2 tonnes of medicines to Maldives. MPB ZMN

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