Centre Announces Rs 23,123 Cr Mega Covid Response Package, Provision for Pediatric Care, 20K ICU Beds

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Newly appointed Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday announced a Rs 23,000 crores emergency package in response to the issues faced by the country in the second wave of Covid-19. The amount will be used jointly by the Central and state governments, he said.

Speaking on the need to help state government in the collective fight against the Covid-19, he said, “We have to collectively fight against Covid. The limitation period is maximum (9 months). We have to get it done quickly. State governments will have to do it quickly. Our duty is to help the state in every possible way.”

Addressing concerns about the predicted third wave, Mandaviya said, “Pediatric care centers will be formed in 736 districts 20,000 ICU beds will be created under the Covid relief fund.”

The announcement was made at the Cabinet briefing held today. Mandaviya, a BJP leader from Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, replaced Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was dropped from the Council of Ministers on Wednesday. Mandaviya was elevated to Cabinet rank from minister of state (MoS). He was holding the independent charge of the Shipping Ministry and was MoS for the Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry.

Mandaviya’s portfolio assumes utmost significance as the country is battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Congress leader P Chidambaram advised him to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply of vaccines. He said vaccinations have been suspended at several centres in Tamil Nadu as vaccines have run out of supply. “Once again, vaccination has been suspended at several centres in Tamil Nadu because they have run out of vaccines.

“The first task of the new Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will be to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply of vaccines to all States,” Chidambaram tweeted.

(With inputs from agencies)

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