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The Centre on Friday released the second tranche of the Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package Phase II (ECRP-II) to help states bolster their health infrastructure to tackle any surge in Covid-19 infections. With this, the Centre has released 50% of its financial commitment.

ECRP-II, a ₹23,123-crore package approved by the Cabinet on July 8, works on a 60:40 formula– 60% of the expenditure on health infrastructure creation is borne by the Centre and 40% by the state governments. The first tranche of ₹1,827.80 crore was released on July 22 as 15% advance to undertake preparatory activities.

Extensive consultations were held with the state governments beginning July 22, after which the states were asked to give their proposals.

With Friday’s release, the Centre has supported the states in their efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 and treatment of infected persons with ₹14,744.99 crore.

Agencies

The states will use this money to set up 827 paediatric units in the districts–which will result in addition of 19,030 oxygen-supported beds and 10,440 ICU/HDU beds; set up 42 paediatric centres of excellence (at least one in every state), augment ICU beds in the public healthcare system by 23,056, of which 20% will be paediatric ICU beds; provide care closer to the communities due to ingress of Covid-19 in rural, peri-urban and tribal areas by creating 8,010 prefabricated structures for adding beds at the existing facilities, which will help in adding 75,218 oxygen-supported beds.

The states will also establish 203 field hospitals in tier-II and III cities, create and strengthen 433 RT-PCR laboratories and procure 18.64 crore RT-PCR and 16.55 crore rapid antigen test kits to perform at least 35.19 crore tests in nine months.The Centre has also prepared 80% of the sites for installation of 1,222 pressure swing adsorption plants (PSA) under the PM-CARES fund. Though the Centre was planning to operationalise all the plants – at least one in each district–by August 15, it has now moved the deadline to the end of August.

At present, the government is worried about the spread of Covid-19 in Kerala and the north eastern states. Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya will visit Kerala on August 16 to review the situation and then go to Guwahati to take stock of preparedness in the northeastern states.

covid: Centre releases 2nd tranche of Covid Emergency Package to help states improve health infrastructure

By ariox