New Delhi, April 21 : The Centre has roped in the Indian Air Force to airlift oxygen cylinders, regulators, and essential medicines as the national capital region faces shortage of oxygen cylinders and medicines.

As second wave of Covid-19 hits India, the IAF has started airlifting personnel, doctors and nursing staff to help the government battle the pandemic.

Sources said that IAF has airlifted doctors and nursing staff from Kochi, Mumbai, Vizag and Bengaluru for setting up of a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Covid hospital at Delhi. The force has also airlifted oxygen containers of DRDO from Bengaluru for Covid centres at Delhi.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh directed all the defence establishments to setting up of more Covid-19 hospitals, use emergency powers and to bring in retired personnel to tackle the crisis.

A roadmap on how military infrastructure can be used to ramp up the fight against Covid-19 was also discussed in a Covid preparedness review meeting chaired by the Minister.

The DRDO had stated that they have set up a Covid hospital on Delhi with 250 beds, and the capacity will be increased to 500 and then 1,000, if required.

Rajnath Singh instructed more fully functional Covid hospitals be set up in Lucknow, Patna, Varanasi and Ahmedabad within 8-10 days and also in other places where required.

He said that the ESIC Hospital, which was converted to Covid hospital in Patna, has started functioning with 500 beds. He added that work is on war footing to set up a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, a 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and a 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad.

There were also discussion on roping in retired military doctors and nursing staff for assistance if they volunteer.

The minister also had suggested to utilise the services of vaccinated retired armed forces personnel to assist the civil administration and state governments to deal with the current situation.

 Latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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