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ASSOCHAM reaches out to PM; calls for mass vaccination in shortest possible time to defeat coronavirus

New Delhi, May 05, 2021: Concerned over Covid-19 overwhelming the nation, ASSOCHAM has reached out to Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi with a plea for drawing up “a mass vaccination strategy in shortest possible time” and selectively curtail economic activity for breaking the transmission chain of coronavirus.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, ASSOCHAM President Mr Vineet Agarwal apprised him about a set of critical recommendations by a Task Force set up by the Chamber on Covid-19.

One of the key recommendations of the ASSOCHAM Task Force to the Government was to “draw up a mass vaccination strategy in the shortest possible time,” relaxing import dispensation for jacking up the supply.

The chamber said continuity of vaccine supplies should be ensured through government channels for at least 90 days till the private sector establishes its procurement channels and supply chains with all major manufacturers globally. “This is especially important to ensure continuity of vaccination with those who have already received the first shot and need the second shot in a time-bound manner”, it said.

To manage the current situation, the response needs to be at war footing, Mr Agarwal said. To contain the contagion’s spread by cutting the transmission linkages, “it is recommended to selectively curtail economic activity to reduce exposure and reach out to draw all possible expertise from within and outside the country to contain the loss of lives”.

Reiterating India Inc’s continued support to the Government, the ASSOCHAM President suggested setting up a ‘central asset mapping control team’ to monitor the supply of various essential critical care items and predict possible occurrences of shortages pre-emptively enhancing States’ capacities. Shortages may be made known to the industry for helping reach resources.

The chamber also called for maintaining uniformity in decision-making about travel, testing, pricing of COVID tests and treatment & other guidelines that can be adhered to at the national level.

It suggested a centralized data-based ‘war room’ operational as around the clock call centre to guide and counsel patients on all aspects of care, help and support.

The crisis management plan needs to address immediate requirements such as oxygen supplies, ICU beds, oxygen concentrators, Bipaps, other equipment and supplies for hospitals, PSA plant installations. In addition to upgrading and creating additional healthcare infrastructure, there is an urgent need to enhance the capacity to increase the number of trained doctors, nurses, and paramedic personnel to meet looming requirements in the coming days, the ASSOCHAM letter to the Prime Minister said.

It called for establishing a single point of contact within Government for donations and imported equipment supplies; information flow between Government and industry; Government and diplomatic missions; national and international medical fraternity, academia, and other stakeholders.

The ASSOCHAM Task Force suggested setting up a virtual genetic sequencing war room with national and international experts. It also recommended ramp-up genetic sequencing of positive Covid-19 test samples to quickly catch new variants as the virus mutates. “The creation of a central or state-level data warehouse through a coordinated public-private partnership (PPP) model is recommended”.

It sought to strengthen logistics to reach supplies to the affected districts. Transportation must also be put in place for supplying the required medical drugs and oxygen continuously to districts where requirements are high.

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