Goa Naval Area plays stellar role in combating Covid-19

Shashwat Gupta Ray
Friday, 8 May 2020

The GNA was also prepared to provide assistance to the civil administration as and when such a requirement arose. Medical/ non-medical teams were formed and kept standby.

WHITE KNIGHTS FIGHT COVID – I 

Even as the Navy helicopters of Goa Naval Area (GNA) showered rose petals on the frontline corona warriors on Sunday, the ‘sea warriors’ were in the forefront to support Goa government in fighting the Covid-19 by airlifting large number of samples of suspected cases to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for getting the test results faster, without worrying about the safety of its staff – loaders, pilots and other staff.

In a four-part series, SHASHWAT GUPTA RAY presents the details regarding the plan of action and execution of the mission.

“The GNA was prepared from the time the initial cases were getting reported. An awareness campaign was immediately undertaken by the station health officer among personnel of all units under GNA. Preparations for quarantine, isolation, treatment were initiated. Isolation wards and ICU facilities were earmarked at INHS Jeevanti, the Naval hospital to meet any eventuality,” Flag Officer Goa Naval Area (FOGA) told GT.

The GNA was also prepared to provide assistance to the civil administration as and when such a requirement arose. Medical/ non-medical teams were formed and kept standby.

“Once the nationwide lockdown was announced and the road, rail and air transport came to a standstill; the state government requested for assistance in air transportation of medical teams and samples, which were promptly attended to,” the FOGA said.

The first Dornier sortie was to transport an expert medical team from GMC to Pune for training in setting up COVID test facility at National Institute of Virology. A few samples also were airlifted to Pune during this sortie, and thereafter a number of sorties were undertaken with samples, test kits and medical personnel.

Informing about the planning that went in for executing this responsibility, the FOGA said requests for airlifting medical teams, samples and test kits were received from the Health Secretary. The aircraft and crew were standby and necessary approvals for the sorties were obtained on fast track considering the urgency of the mission.

“Primary consideration was to execute the mission as per schedule in view of the urgent nature. The aircraft and aircrew were prepared and standby to undertake sorties in the wake of the pandemic and lockdown. Necessary approvals were immediately obtained through effective liaison with the authorities and agencies involved. All necessary precautions were ensured with respect to the social distancing and medical protocols,” he said.

According to him, Armed Forces have always been at the forefront in aiding local governments in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) during natural calamities, aiding civil power in maintaining law and order when called for.

“However, this has been an unprecedented situation and the expectations have also been different. Whereas we have always been mission ready, we had to be wary about the unknown enemy. Necessary precautions in maintaining social distancing and medical advisories/ protocols had to be ensured. The pandemic called for a new challenge to be confronted appropriately with assets available to the Navy,” the top ranking Naval official said.

 

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