Rajasthan: Govt to launch COVID help desk, officers shifted to health dept to tackle surge in cases

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Jaipur/Jodhpur, Apr 24 (PTI) With the healthcare system in Rajasthan struggling to cope with the rising number of coronavirus cases, the state government will launch a help desk on Sunday to resolve problems like the unavailability of oxygen cylinders or medicines faced by people.

The 'Medical Minister's Help Desk', set up in Swasthya Bhawan in state capital Jaipur, will function round the clock, officials said.

Director of Public Health Dr KK Sharma said that in view of the increasing number of coronavirus patients in the state, the help desk is being started from Sunday on the instructions of Health Minister Raghu Sharma.

Anyone in the state can call on 0141-2225624 or 2225000 to report their problem. A complaint will be registered and resolved soon, he said.

The state government said in a statement that it added 17 more tankers to its fleet and 32,000 cylinders over the past week to meet the increased demand for the life-saving gas.

The medical oxygen consumption in Rajasthan has increased from 160 metric tonnes last week to over 250 metric tonnes this week, it said.

Over the past week, the number of oxygen tankers deployed in medical services has been increased from six to 23. GPS and police escorts are being used to ensure smooth and fast passage of oxygen tankers, the statement said.

More than 32,000 cylinders previously being used for supply of industrial oxygen have also been acquired and are being handed over to district administrations after due treatment for medical services, it added.

Meanwhile, the state government temporarily shifted 11 IAS and 12 RAS officers to the Medical, Health and Family Welfare Department to help it cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

An order to this effect was issued by the Department of Personnel on Saturday.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Rajasthan surged to 4,98,628 on Saturday as 15,355 more people tested positive for the contagious disease. Seventy-four more fatalities pushed the death toll to 3,527, according to an official report.

The rising number of cases in the state has left families of COVID-19 patients struggling to find beds in hospitals for their treatment.

In view of the shortage of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in Jodhpur, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has proposed to set up a temporary 500-bed temporary hospital at MBM Engineering College in the city.

'I spoke to the district magistrate on Saturday about the temporary hospital for COVID patients,' Shekhawat, who is also the MP from Jodhpur, said.

'Our objective is to start with 100 beds, which will be set up in three-four days, and then add 100 more per day up to 500,' he said.

The Union minister will be roping in his own team for the task.

However, he has asked the district administration and medical officers to arrange a senior doctor and some senior and junior residents for 24-hour monitoring of patients besides medicines and oxygen once the beds are set up.

There are 1,27,616 active COVID-19 cases in Rajasthan. So far, 3,67,485 coronavirus patients have recovered from the infection, the report stated. PTI AG CORR DIV DIV