Besides healthcare workers and state police forces, the Indian Army has been in a proactive role at the forefront of fighting COVID-19 and providing assistance in various key areas across the country and beyond. From evacuating stranded Indians from foreign countries in the midst of the pandemic to setting up quarantine facilities and distributing essential items, the Army has led the task.
Evacuations and Lodging at Quarantine Facilities:
February 2-18: 248 Indian male citizens, mostly students, were evacuated from Wuhan and quarantined at Manesar Army Wellness Facility.
Feb 27 to March 12: 124 people evacuated from Diamond Princess Cruise liner in Japanese waters and quarantined at Manesar Army Wellness Facility.
March 11 onwards: 83 people evacuated from Italy and quarantined at Manesar Army Wellness Facility. These included six citizens of Indian origin from Italy and three citizens of Indian origin from US. 82 were discharged after testing negative while one positive case was referred to Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi.
March 15: 236 Indian citizens evacuated from Iran and quarantined at Jaisalmer Army Wellness Facility, the army’s largest such facility. Out of these, 19 were COVID positive and were admitted at AIIMS Jodhpur. Nine of them have since recovered. Nearly two battalion strength of troops vacated their living accommodation to assist in establishing these national-level facilities for the people of India.
March 16: 53 Indian citizens evacuated from Iran and quarantined at Jaisalmer Army Wellness Facility. Three of them tested COVID positive and were admitted to AIIMS Jodhpur.
Mar 18: 195 Indian citizens evacuated from Iran and quarantined at Jaisalmer Army Wellness Facility. 22 of them tested COVID positive and were admitted to AIIMS Jodhpur.
March 25: 277 Indian citizens evacuated from Iran and quarantined at Jodhpur Army Wellness Facility.
March 29: 275 Indian citizens evacuated from Iran quarantined at Jodhpur Army Wellness Facility.
Capability Enhancement to Help Civilians:
Several Army Wellness Centres established to handle likely surge in civilian cases of COVID-19.
Three dedicated COVID hospitals for civilians with a total capacity of 490 (extendable to 590) to be set up by April 20 at Barrackpore, Shillong and Likabali.
Four Quick Reaction Medical Teams have been kept ready.
As many as 1200 Battlefield Nursing Assistants trained to augment medical resources at 300 per Corps.
Seven COVID response teams with personnel from Engineers and Army Medical Corps.
Decontamination operations being carried out at Tawang, in Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China.
Around 1000 masks and 30 personal protective sets being manufactured each day by Regional Ordnance Depots for hospitals in the entire Eastern Command Theatre.
Two doctors and two paramedics were initially sent to Narela isolation camp to assist civil medical set up. Process of taking over of complete screening facility by Army commenced from April 7. Its current strength is four Medical officers and 18 support staff.
Distribution of Essential Items:
Provision of food packets at locations in Bengaluru, Delhi, Jammu, Changlangla (Assam Rifles), Kolkata, districts in Assam, Baramulla, Mokokchung (Assam Rifles), Akhnoor, Wellington, Coonoor and Tiruchy.
Provision of medical items such as PPE, masks and hand sanitisers in Bengaluru, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara, West Kameng (ALP), PHC at Srinagar and Akhnoor.
Volunteers from Indian Army donated blood to assist Civil Blood Banks to maintain blood stock levels.
Multi-pronged campaign to reach out to people in remote and rural areas of J&K and educate and assist them.
Civic-military interaction to fight COVID-19 held at Bhagatpura, Srinagar.
Continuous efforts being undertaken by Chinar Corps, making announcements to ensure social distancing & distributing health advisories.
Assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries:
13-21 March: Medical team comprising five doctors, two Nursing Officers & seven Paramedics deployed in an advisory role to assist the Male govt to set up its domestic COVID protection measures.
April 11: Eight Medical Officers and seven Paramedics deployed for capability development of Kuwaiti government and setting up of Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine for testing.
Medicines and medical equipment being provided to the Nepal government.
Other Medical teams are on standby for deployment to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan.