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Indian Navy ships, from the Southern Naval Command at Kochi under the mission of Oxygen Express sailed towards the Union Territory of Lakshadweep (UTL) to extend help to the local administration. According to the official spokesperson of the Indian Navy, on Sunday morning (April 25, 2021), Kochi based INS Sharda, undertook transfer of essential medical supplies to the capital of UTL, Kavaratti.
On board it had stores including 35 Oxygen cylinders, Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE), masks, Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) kits and other items to fight the COVID 19 pandemic. At Kavaratti, the disembarkation of stores was coordinated by personnel from INS Dweeprakshak. Then the ship continued on its mission to the island of Minicoy for disembarkation of Oxygen cylinders and medical supplies.
Also, 41 empty Oxygen cylinders from the islands have been embarked on board Indian Navy hired vessel, Meghna. This vessel sailed towards Kochi for refilling of the empty cylinders, and will soon head back to UTL with filled up cylinders.
And to ensure that the Oxygen Express continues on track, the operations are being supervised by the Naval Officer-in-Charge at Lakshadweep in coordination with the UTL Administration.
A Naval contingent comprising one doctor, two Medical Assistants and one additional sailor have been sent by the Navy to assist the civil administration in fighting COVID 19 at the island of Kadmat,
They were deputed from SNC, Kochi as well as from INS Dweeprakshak, Kavaratti.
What more has the Navy done?
Ten beds including ICU facilities for patients from Lakshadweep have been reserved at INHS Sanjivani, Kochi. This is to cater for shortages in beds at the islands. Additionally, Naval Air Station INS Garuda has been placed on alert. This has been done to extend the naval airfield facilities for UTL helicopters which will ferry patients.
Air Evacuation Pods
These pods developed last year indigenously by the Naval Aircraft Yard, Kochi are going to be used for airlift COVID-19 patients from the Islands as well as from elsewhere.
Indian Air Force Deploys transport fleet to ferry Oxygen tankers
According to the official spokesperson of the IAF, “On Monday, a C17 transport aircraft landed in Dubai for airlifting 7 empty cryogenic oxygen containers. Once the loading is completed it will fly back to India and is expected to reach Panagarh approximately by 5.30 pm on Monday.” Panagarh Air base is in West Bengal and from there the containers will go by road for refills.
On Sunday, one C-17 aircraft had airlifted 2 Cryogenic Oxygen Tankers of capacity 15000 ltrs each from Gwalior Air Force Base and it was dropped in Ranchi.
Prime Minister reviews preparations by Armed Forces
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reviewed the preparations and operations being undertaken by the Armed Forces to deal with the pandemic.
He was briefed by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
All medical personnel from armed forces who have either retired or took pre-mature retirement in the last 2 years are being recalled. The CDS told the Prime Minister that they will work at the COVID facilities closer to their homes.
A similar request has been made to other medical officers who retired earlier have been requested to make their services available for emergency helplines.
According to CDS all medical officers on staff appointments at Command HQ, Corps HQ, Division HQ & similar HQ of Navy and Air-Force are going to be employed at hospitals.
Also, oxygen cylinders which are available with armed forces in various establishments are going to be released for hospitals and more facilities are being created in large numbers to deal with the surge in numbers of COVID positive cases.
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