NEW DELHI: Around 650 armed forces medical officers, pursuing post-graduation, are being deployed at military healthcare facilities handling coronavirus patients across the country, officials said on Friday.
At present, the medical officers are undergoing training at Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune.
The decision to deploy the officers for treatment of coronavirus patients was taken at a meeting Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held to review contribution of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) in assisting civilian authorities in various parts of the country to deal with rising COVID-19 cases.
In addition, 100 medical officers are also being deployed to work in hospitals offering treatment to infected people.
The defence ministry, in a statement, said orders notifying 50 AFMS healthcare facilities as 'COVID-19 hospitals' and 'mixed COVID-19' hospitals have been issued.
"These hospitals have a combined bed capacity of 9,038 patients. Civilian COVID-19 cases would also be admitted in these hospitals as a surge capacity to augment the state healthcare facilities," it said, detailing decisions taken at the meeting chaired by Singh.
Those who attended the meeting included Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, Director General of AFMS Lt Gen Anup Banerji, Director General, Director General Medical Services (Navy) Vice Admiral M V Singh and Director General Medical Services (Air) Air Marshal M S Butola.
The officials briefed Singh about various actions taken in terms of issuing advisories to Armed Forces personnel, providing assistance to civilian authorities and provisioning of hospitals and healthcare facilities to fight the pandemic.
A list of retired medical officers and paramedical staff of the armed forces hospitals is being readied for deployment in hospitals treating the virus infected people, officials said.
The AFMS is also extending support to the government in helping several countries to deal with the pandemic.
A 15-member medical team is currently in Kuwait to help the country in handling COVID-19 cases.
"While appreciating various measures initiated by the Armed Forces Medical Services, Rajnath Singh directed them to extend all possible assistance to civil authorities to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19," the ministry said.
The AFMS has set up multiple quarantine facilities across the country to keep suspected cases besides taking care of hundreds of people evacuated from corona-virus hit countries.