PANAJI: The state government has formed a 15-member special task force under the chairmanship of chief minister Pramod Sawant to prepare for the third Covid wave.
Health minister Vishwajit Rane will be the vice-chairman of the task force that will have both private and government doctors onboard.
Sawant said that, as part of the preparations, a 60-bed paediatric ICU will be established at the super-specialty hospital at Bambolim, intensive care units in private as well as government hospitals will be upgraded, and a global tender will be floated to purchase vaccines to meet the state’s requirement.
Besides the task force, an expert committee headed by Goa Medical College dean Dr Shivanand Bandekar will review the second and third waves and accordingly advise the state government, the chief minister said.
Sawant said that both committees will consist of paediatricians. “It appears that the third Covid wave will hit children, therefore private and GMC paediatricians have been involved in the committees. We will also upgrade infrastructure,” he said, while adding that counsellors too, should be roped in for the third wave.
On the subject of people from the neighbouring states booking their vaccine slots in Goa, Sawant said that the booking is with the central government. “We have raised the issue with the Union government. Other states are facing a similar issue,” he said, adding that states cannot ban those from outside their state from booking a vaccine slot.
The chief minister said that Goa has asked for excess vaccines and that when the doses are received the drive will become a walk-in one. The state is concerned about the people and we will make vaccines available for them, he said. “We have told the central government that because of people from other states booking their vaccine shots in Goa it has become difficult for Goans to get their vaccine,” Sawant said.
About shortage of manpower in hospitals, he said that people are being hired on a regular basis.
Later in the day, Sawant held the first meeting of the task force.
He said that he has asked doctors to give their requirements within eight days and that the state will be prepared with the equipment and infrastructure for the third wave in a month’s time. A total of 120 paediatrician will be trained, Sawant added.