Ficci stresses on speeding up vaccination, maintaining supply of essential medicines to fight COVID

New Delhi, Apr 03 (PTI) Industry body Ficci has suggested the government a series of steps, including speeding up vaccination drive and maintaining supply of essential medicines, in order to contain the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

In a letter to Sanjeeva Kumar, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, the chamber said that there is an urgent need for national criteria for hospital admissions for COVID-19 as it would help reduce the burden of non-essential COVID admissions, providing beds for critical.

It also suggested that some national-level travel restrictions may be imposed till the situation comes under control and preference for travel should be given to people who have been vaccinated. This will reduce a lot of pressure on the testing facilities, the letter dated April 19 said.

The chamber also recommended that in this crisis situation, it is important that “we centralise the authority of decision making” as currently the situation is being managed through 600 districts across the country.

“The communication channels during the second wave have neither been adequate, nor very clear. It is important that the government authorities communicate effectively on all the progress as well as the challenges faced to garner appropriate support from the industry as well as the public at large,” it said.

“We have witnessed issues with availability of drugs such as remdesivir, tocilizumab. We suggest the government should consider enough stocking up these vital drugs to meet any shortages in such situations,” it said.

In a separate statement, domestic traders body CAIT suggested the government to immediately impose national lockdown to deal with pandemic. It said that the government would have to suspend the liability of GST, income tax and other taxes.

“For the time being, the banks should be directed to postpone the recovery of interest or EMIs or other financial liabilities towards the traders and the government should give financial assistance to pay the salary of the employees who are working with the traders,” the confederation said.

It has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “immediately impose a national lockdown” in order to protect people from COVID-19.