Ex-servicemen mobilised to combat coronavirus pandemic: Defence Ministry

Amid the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the Defence Ministry announced on Thursday that it is mobilising ex-servicemen (ESM) to assist the state and district administrations wherever required.

“Rajya Sainik Boards, Zila Sainik Boards are playing a dynamic role in identifying and mobilising maximum ESM volunteers to assist the state and district administration in performing public outreach activities such as contact tracing, community surveillance, management of quarantine facilities or any such tasks assigned to them,” the ministry said in a press release.

Till now, 1,965 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 50 people have died due to it in India, according to the Union health ministry.

In Punjab, an organisation called ”Guardians of Governance” comprising 4,200 ESM is assisting in data collection from all villages, the ministry noted.

“The Chhattisgarh government has employed some ESM to assist the police. Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, all the district Collectors have asked for ESM volunteers,” the ministry said.

The defence ministry said that in Uttar Pradesh, all ”Zila Sainik Kalyan Adhikaris” are in touch with district control rooms and retired Army Medical Corps personnel have been identified and kept ready.

“In addition, Sainik rest houses are being readied in Uttarakhand to act as isolation/quarantine centres if need arises. In Goa, a control room has been established and ESM have been asked to remain on standby for any assistance to the local administration,” the ministry noted.

India imposed a 21-day lockdown on March 25 to combat the spread of the virus that has killed more than 45,000 people worldwide till now.