Scheme to ramp up infra in hospitals with donations from

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philanthropists, entreprises rolled out Puducherry, May 20 (PTI): A scheme envisaging liberal contributions from philanthropists and enterprises to ramp up infrastructure in hospitals to better fight the fast spreading COVID-19 pandemic in the union territory was launched here on Thursday by Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan.

The 'Uyir Kaatru' (breath of life) scheme aimed at the donors playing a pro-active role to contain the virus that would help the affected recover faster, she said.

The Lt Governor said the Union Territory was now in a 'very difficult predicament' with the spike in the number of cases and was leaving no stone unturned to check the spread.

She said private hospitals were also augmenting oxygen beds in their premises to cater to the needs of the patients.

Puducherry has been witnessing a surge in cases and deaths over the last few weeks.

On Thursday, 1,957 infections were reported, compared to 1,759 on May 19, while 28 fatalities took the toll to 1,269 as against 1,241 on Wednesday The Lt Governor thanked Congress Lok Sabha MP from Puducherry V Vaithilingam, who was also present, for contributing Rs 10 lakh to the scheme.

She said the administration was strictly implementing a programme to ensure that people wear masks and added that it was necessary to equip hospitals with facilities like Oxygen beds, ventilators and drugs.

'No patient approaching the health facilities for treatment should be turned away,' she said.

The Lt Governor said the vaccination for those in the 18-44 years age group got underway in the UT today and said those aged above 45 years were already being given the shots.

She said she had also asked MLAs and leaders in various fields to sensitise the people and generate awareness among them about the need to get vaccinated.

The Lt Governor said the Prime Minister frequently contacts her over phone and acquaints himself with the steps taken to battle the pandemic and was also responding to the needs of the UT like providing Oxygen concentrators to Puducherry and Karaikal regions.

She thanked various organisations and also banks for their ready response to the 'Uyir Kaatru' scheme.

She lauded the round the clock work being done by the Health Department to meet the exigencies arising out of flow of COVID-19 patients for treatment.

Health Secretary T Arun, who also spoke, said several institutions, banks and private individuals came forward with their contributions within hours of the rollout of the scheme.