The Union Home Ministry on Monday has asked states and Union territories to ensure smooth movement of all medical professionals, paramedics, sanitation personnel and ambulances, during the ongoing lockdown, saying curbs on them can lead to severe constraints in rendering COVID and non-COVID medical services continue to function without any hindrances. In a letter, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla directed all States and UTs to ensure the opening of all private clinics, nursing homes and labs with all their medical professional and staff.
“I would like to emphasise that all State/UT Governments should ensure that their field officials allow smooth movement of all medical professionals, nurses, para-medical, sanitation personnel and ambulances and ensure opening of all private clinics, nursing homes and labs with all their medical professional and staff,” Bhalla said in a letter.
“Such movement must also be facilitated inter-State, whenever required,” he added.
Bhalla said there have been reports of many private clinics and nursing homes not being allowed to open at several places. The functioning of these medical facilities, which supplement the regular medical infrastructure, and relieve the burden on hospitals, is also crucial.
There have been reports of health care services being affected in some places including in the national capital after neighbouring states closed down inter-state borders and barred movement of medical workers.
“As you are aware, the services of the medical and para-medical staff are required urgently in meeting the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the existing staff, apart from this duty, also have to render normal responsibilities such as conducting immunisation programmes, handling the onset of vector and other seasonal diseases and meeting other non-COVID emergencies,” said the Union Home Secretary.
“In such a scenario, any restriction on the movement of medical professionals and paramedical staff can lead to severe constraints in rendering COVID and non-COVID medical services. As such, ensuring the unhindered movement of all such medical professionals is essentials for meeting public health requirements and saving human lives,” it added.
The letter further pointed out that private clinics and nursing homes are also reported to have not been allowed to be open. “I would urge all States and UTs to ensure that such clinics and nursing homes continue to function without any hindrances,” said Bhalla.
The lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days to contain the spread of coronavirus.It was first extended till May 3 and again till May 17.
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