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NEW DELHI: Indian Army chief general Manoj Mukund Naravane on Thursday briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the assistance being made available by the army to various state governments to stem the raging second wave of covid-19 pandemic.

A statement from the prime minister’s office said that Naravane informed Modi that “medical staff of the Army is being made available to various state governments."

Naravane “also briefed the PM that Army is setting up temporary hospitals in various parts of the country", it said.

India is in the grip of a devastating second wave of the pandemic that has now claimed over 200,000 lives. The daily infections on Wednesday crossed the 370,000 mark and the number of daily deaths topped 3,600.

The army chief said the Army was opening up its hospitals for civilians wherever possible. He also added that citizens can approach their nearest army hospitals for help.

Naravane added that the Indian Army would also help with setting up imported oxygen equipment where specialised skills are required to manage them, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force in a statement on Thursday said it had airlifted 12 empty cryogenic oxygen containers from Bangkok, Singapore and Dubai to India.

"The IAF is currently transporting empty cryogenic oxygen containers from three destinations outside India. 3 containers from Bangkok, 3 from Singapore and 6 from Dubai," said an official statement.

Since Friday, the IAF has been airlifting empty oxygen tankers and containers to various filling stations across the country to speed up the distribution of the much-needed medical oxygen in treating covid-19 patients.

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