Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

New Delhi: Union Home Ministry on Monday instructed all the states and the Union Territories (UTs) to ensure opening of all private clinics, nursing homes and labs with all their medical professionals and staff on duty.

The order issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla to all state Chief Secretaries and UT authorities also directed the facilitating of such inter-state movement, whenever required.

All states and UTs should ensure that their field officials allow smooth movements of all medical professionals, nurses, para-medical, sanitation personnel and ambulances, Bhalla emphasized.

The Ministry issued the order following information that private clinics and nursing homes were not allowed to open so far at many places.

“The functioning of these medical facilities, which supplement the regular medical infrastructure, and relieve the burden on hospitals, is also crucial. I would urge all states and UTs to ensure that such clinics and nursing homes continue to function without any hindrance,” Bhalla’s letter reads.

The instructions followed Sunday’s meeting of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba with the Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries (Health) of all states and UTs through a video conferencing wherein the issue of restrictions being imposed by some states and UTs on the movement of medical professionals and para-medical personnel was flagged.

The services of medical and para-medical staff are urgently required in meeting the challenges of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the existing staff, apart from this duty, also have to render normal responsibilities, such as conducting immunization programmes, handling the onset of vector and other seasonal diseases, and meeting other non-COVID-19 emergencies.

In this scenario, as pointed out by the Cabinet Secretary, any restrictions on the movement of medical fraternity can lead to severe constraints in rendering COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 medical services, the order said.

“As such, ensuring unhindered movement of all such medical professionals is essential for meeting public health requirements and saving precious human lives,” the order added.

The order came will still nearly a week left for the Lockdown3.0 to expire as the medical fraternity is at the forefront of the war against COVID-19.

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