The annual report of the Home ministry for 2021-22 says that India had geared up all its ministries to deal with coronavirus much before World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 a public health emergency of international concern.
The report says that the outbreak of coronavirus disease was initially noticed at a seafood market in Wuhan city in Hubei province of China in mid-December 2019. The WHO (under international health regulations) declared it as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on January 1, 2020, and a pandemic on March 11, 2020, it says.
“India adopted a proactive, pre-emptive and graded response to deal with the unprecedented global crisis. At the onset of the first wave ofpandemic, the government imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown from March 25, 2020, to contain the spread of Covid-19 and ramp up the health infrastructure to save lives,” the report says.
The MHA report says when the second wave of Covid-19 hit India in early 2021, the country was equipped with adequate testing infrastructure and better prepared to combat the virus. The demand for life-saving medicines, such as remdesivir, and medical oxygen for the treatment of moderate and critical patients soared, and the ministry took a number of steps to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply of the same. “We coordinated for the hassle-free supply of medical oxygen from plants, issued orders for restricting the use of medical oxygen for industrial purposes and paved the way for its usage for medical purposes only… facilitated the movement of medical oxygen across the country as per the approved allocation plan, coordinated in seamless supply and transport of remdesivir and other essential medicines, coordinated lifting of high-capacity tankers from abroad… and advised states/UTs to direct district collectors to take action to revive oxygen generation plants which were lying defunct,” it says.