The Center approved a Covid-19 package worth Rs 15,000 crore to build on health infrastructure till March 2024 even as the numbers surged past 6,000-mark. The Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package will be given to state governments and Union Territories in three phases – January 2020 to June 2020, July 2020 to March 2021 and from April 2021 to March 2024. This fund would be divided on the basis of the number of positive cases and the size of the State and the Union Territory.
The package announcement came on a day when the unofficial tally put the number of positive cases at 6,624. The health ministry, however, put the total number of confirmed cases at 5,865 at 5 pm on Thursday. News agencies put the 24-hour increase at a record high. Till date, Wednesday had seen the highest 24-hour increase at 773.
State governments would be allowed to use the money to develop Covid-19 hospitals. They would also be allowed to spend on buying personal protective equipment, setting up of laboratories, procurement of essential medical supplies, medicines and consumables for Covid-19 patients. Of the 15,000 crore, the Centre would release 7,774 crore for immediate use till June 2020.
The remaining 7,226 crore would be used till 2024 for medium-term support. “With the objective of emergency response, a fund has been set up for strengthening health systems to support prevention and preparedness,” stated a circular signed by Vandana Gurnani, additional secretary and director, National Health Mission.