New Delhi: More than 31,000 doctors, including retired government and Armed Forces Medical Services, and private physicians have volunteered to help the government fight against COVID-19 pandemic, a senior government official said on Friday.
The government on March 25 had appealed to retired government, Armed Forces Medical Services, public sector undertaking or private doctors to come forward and join the efforts to fight the pandemic caused by the deadly novel coronavirus.
"31,062 volunteer doctors, including retired government, Armed Forces Medical Services, public sector undertaking or private doctors have so far signed up to the government to battle COVID-19 pandemic," the official said.
The official said the maximum number of applications received from Maharashtra (6,656), followed by Uttar Pradesh (2,816), Karnataka (2,060), Delhi, (2,022), Telangana (1,959), Gujarat (1,712), Rajasthan (1,478), Andhra Pradesh (1,685), Bihar (969), Kerala (946) and West Bangal�(921).
Three applications were received from outside India. Besides, 263 applications were received from Jharkhand and 352 applications received from Jammu and Kashmir among others.
The number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 2,301 in the country on Friday while the death toll rose to 56, according to the Union Health Ministry.
In a statement posted on Niti Aayog's website on March 25, the government had said those who wish to contribute to this and be a part of this noble mission to serve the country may register themselves on a link provided on the official website of the Niti Aayog.
"The Government of India requests for volunteer doctors who are fit and willing to be available for providing their services in the public health facilities and the training hospitals in the near future.
"We appeal to such doctors to come forward at this hour of need. You could also be a retired government, Armed Forces Medical Services, public sector undertaking or a private doctor," the statement said.
It had noted that in case the outbreak leads to a high number of infected individuals, India's public health facilities will face tremendous load to take care of a large number of patients.
Many countries, including the US, Italy, the UK and Vietnam, have urged retired health workers to come back to work amid the pandemic.