Govt to press drones into service for transporting vaccines to hilly areas

One death, 28 +ve cases in Leh; 182 in J&K

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Nov 25: The Government has decided to press drones into service for transportation of COVID vaccines to remote and hilly areas in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh besides other parts of the country to vaccinate the left out population and minimize chances of spread of the virus.
Trial run of the drone carrying vaccines will be conducted on Saturday from IIIM to Marh.
The trial run will be launched by Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the drones will have capability of covering a distance of 20 kilometres and will fly at a height of 500 meters. They will carry a load of 10 kilograms which is being said as enough for transporting vaccines to hilly, remote and far off areas in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
“The drones will fly at the speed of 36 kilometres per hour,” the sources said.
This is for the first time that the drones will be pressed into service for supplying vaccines to mountainous and far-off areas which will help the Health workers in vaccinating the people at door-steps as directed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“There have been reports that in certain hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh besides other parts of the country, people were hesitant to cover long distance through mountains to get themselves vaccinated. The new technique of transporting vaccines through drones will help the administration to vaccinate people at their door-steps,” the sources said.
Initially, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh might get around 30 drones but, if the need arises, the numbers will be increased, they added.
Gradually, all States and Union Territories in the country will get drones for transportation of COVID vaccines–Covishield and Covaxin and related material–depending upon their need.
“Soon after the trial run from IIIM to Marh in Jammu district is successful, the Government will seek requisition from the district administration of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh about the areas where they propose to use drones for transporting COVID vaccine and accordingly they will be sent at the district headquarters.
Similar will be the procedure for the Union Territory of Ladakh, the sources said.
Only couple of days back, the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare had written separately to the administration of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh besides other States and Union Territories to ramp up testing and ensure that COVID Appropriate Behaviour is followed due to sudden surge in COVID positive cases.
In Jammu and Kashmir, increase in Coronavirus positive cases has been witnessed in Srinagar and Jammu districts among others while number of cases has drastically gone up in Leh district in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
However, in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh, the speed of vaccination has been good as compared to many other States and Union Territories.
With the deployment of drones for vaccination in less covered areas, the vaccination will get pace further, sources said.
Since the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have many hilly areas including Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch districts in Jammu region and Kupwara and Anantnag besides others in Kashmir, the use of drones will be of great help in vaccination.
It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently gave the call for vaccination at door steps which, according to sources, will be possible in mountainous areas with the use of drones.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir today reported 182 new COVID positive cases while the UT of Ladakh recorded 28 cases and one fatality.
An 81-year-old woman hailing from Skara in Leh district died of COVID-19 at her home.
Among 28 new COVID positive cases in Ladakh, 26 were registered in Leh and two in Kargil.
Today’s casualty has taken Corona toll in Ladakh to 213—155 in Leh and 58 in Kargil while number of active positive cases in Ladakh has reached 225 including 210 in Leh and 15 in Kargil.
Among 182 cases in J&K, Jammu region registered 33 including 11 in Jammu district, 10 in Reasi (seven of them travellers), four in Udhampur, three Rajouri, two each in Kathua and Kishtwar and one in Doda district.
Thirty two persons recovered from the virus leaving number of active positive cases in Jammu region to 248.
Meanwhile, Kashmir today reported 149 fresh cases of COVID-19.
Those who tested positive include 69 from Srinagar, 32 from Baramulla, 17 from Budgam, 3 from Pulwama, 11 from Kupwara, 1 from Anantnag, 5 from Bandipora, 6 from Ganderbal and 5 from Kulgam.
The number of cases in Kashmir division has reached 211,166 including 207,426 recoveries and 2,282 deaths.
The number of active cases in Jammu and Kashmir are 1,706 including 1,458 from Kashmir division.
With 160 more recoveries, the tally of total recoveries in Jammu and Kashmir has reached, 329,891 which is 98.16 percent of the total cases.

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