NEW DELHI, April 9 - The Union Health Ministry on Thursday stressed on the rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients amid concerns over their dwindling numbers in the country.
Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said there is no need to panic as India has sufficient stocks of PPE and the government is making all efforts to augment their supply further. He said 20 domestic manufacturing companies of PPE have been developed.
Meanwhile, the death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 169 and the number of cases climbed to 5,865 in the country on Thursday, registering an increase of 591 cases and 20 deaths in the last 24 hours.
According to the Union Health Ministry, while the number of active COVID-19 cases is 5,218, as many as 477 people have been cured and discharged and one has migrated.
Speaking about the initiatives taken by the government, Agarwal said the Health Ministry has formed 10 high-level multi-disciplinary central teams and they have been sent to nine states to support them with the containment plans, hospital management and ventilator management.
The nine states are Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
Agarwal said that the Group of Ministers meeting chaired by the Health Minister reviewed the current status and actions for prevention and management of coronavirus. It focused on containment measures and setting up of dedicated hospitals for COVID-19 in the states.
According to an ICMR official, India is in the final stages of finalising protocol for conducting clinical trial on convalescent plasma therapy. They will also have to take approval from DCG before conducting the trial.
The official said the therapy is not currently used or prescribed for patients and as of now it will be used only in clinical trials. The therapy, he said, has been successful in limited clinical trials in some countries on severely ill patients.
Convalescent plasma therapy is a process in which blood plasma from a patient, who has recovered from COVID-19, is infused into a critically ill patient so that the specific antibodies present in the blood of the recovered person can help fight the infection. � PTI