PMSF demands bringing vital resources to combat COVID-19 under Essential Commodities Act

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New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) A national association of doctors and scientists has demanded that the government set up a consultative mechanism for formulation of an anti-pandemic policy, and bring vital resources like medical oxygen, drugs and vaccines under the Essential Commodities Act, in view of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

The Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF) also demanded that private hospitals, especially the big and medium corporate hospitals, should be taken over by the central/state governments to provide hassle-free and effective healthcare for coronavirus patients.

It also demanded that new COVID beds be set up by converting facilities, or by way of field hospitals as had been done in countries like China.

The forum suggested that vital resources like medical oxygen, drugs and vaccines should be brought under the Essential Commodities Act, their prices be capped at a reasonable minimum, and free and fair distribution to the states be ensured through a transparent policy framework.

'The treatment for COVID patients should be free of cost to all patients requiring medical attention and the peripheral healthcare services in the public sector should be fully activated by making the necessary health manpower and material infrastructure,' the PMSF said in a statement.

'The Modi government should immediately set up a standing 'National Consultative Mechanism' for formulation of anti-pandemic policy, and to oversee the implementation of various measures taking the necessary scientific, technical and administrative inputs,' it said.

India has been battered by the second wave of coronavirus pandemic with over 3 lakh cases of infection being reported daily across the country.

A record single-day rise of 3,46,786 coronavirus cases pushed India's tally of infection to 1,66,10,481, while active cases crossed the 25 lakh-mark, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Saturday.

The death toll rose to 1,89,544 with a record 2,624 more fatalities in a day, the data updated at 8 am showed.