New Delhi: The Center reconstituted on Saturday the empowered groups set up to monitor and coordinate activities and response to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country by including exclusive groups on oxygen availability, testing, immunization and emergency response capacities.
Six of these groups are headed by government secretaries while three are headed by members of Niti Aayog and one by the director general of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
VK Paul, member of Niti Aayog, is responsible for two key groups: EG1 on the emergency management plan and strategy in India, and EG5 on immunization.
The order issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla under the Disaster Management Act 2005 said: “… the situation has been reviewed and the need was felt to reconstitute the six groups empowered into 10 groups in order to respond to the current situation. need for management of Covid-19 ”.
Bhalla himself leads EG10 on Pandemic Response and Coordination, which deals with containment measures and guidelines, coordination with states, legal and administrative aspects, logistics and management of the supply chain.
Originally, immediately after the first nationwide lockdown in March last year, the Center trained 11 GEs in handling Covid-19, which were reconstituted into six larger clusters in September.
A new group formed on Saturday – EG2, led by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan – will focus exclusively on the country’s emergency response capacities during a Covid-19 wave. It will mainly address issues related to the availability of general beds and intensive care beds in hospitals; equipment including ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, gloves, medication, etc.
The Center has also formed a separate oxygen group – EG4, led by Road Transport Secretary Giridhar Aramane – which will look at the production, import, logistics, factories and conversion of nitrogen to oxygen. medical, availability of cryogenic tankers, etc.
Significantly, EG5 for vaccination under VK Paul will monitor the purchase, management, import, logistics, daily supply, use and waste of Covid-19 vaccines across the country. India is currently administering three vaccines – Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V (from the second week of June).
Paul also leads EG1, which monitors disease surveillance, emerging scenarios, global trends, and medical protocol.