Those serving the coronavirus patients are "no less than soldiers protecting the country", Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said this afternoon as he announced Rs 1 crore for the families of health workers if they die while dealing with COVID-19 cases.
"During a war, a soldier protects his country, risks his life.... our whole nation is indebted to them. Today, the job that you guys (health workers) are doing is no less than that of a soldier. You are risking your life to save people of this country," Mr Kejriwal said.
"Delhi government had earlier announced that if any soldier dies while protecting the country, his family will be given Rs 1 crore. Today, as a mark of respect, I want to announce that if unfortunately, any health worker - a sanitation worker, doctor or nurse - is martyred while serving COVID-19 patients, their families will be given Rs 1 crore. Whether they are from private or government sector... it doesn't matter," he added.
Mr Kejriwal also interacted with some medical professionals through video conferencing this afternoon. "Interacted with Delhi govt doctors and paramedic staff on COVID-19 duty over video conference. I salute their courage and dedication. Have assured them full govt support. They had some excellent suggestions which we will implement immediately," he tweeted after the interaction.
Interacted with Delhi govt doctors and paramedic staff on COVID-19 duty over video conference. I salute their courage and dedication. Have assured them full govt support. They had some excellent suggestions which we will implement immediately pic.twitter.com/tQ2jM2wzLs— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 1, 2020
Every precaution will be taken to protect our medical staff dealing with #COVID19 patients but despite that if anything untoward happens to them, we will take care of their families https://t.co/aRvOWJzS5J— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 1, 2020
The national capital has so far reported at least 120 cases of highly contagious COVID-19 as number of people who have contracted infection across India crossed 1,600. Frontline workers face the greatest risk of contracting the disease.
Last week, the centre had declared a medical cover of Rs 50 lakh per person for those in the forefront of the fight against the deadly virus. The medical insurance cover was a part of the Rs 1.75 lakh crore package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Applauding the role played by doctors and other healthcare workers, she had pointed out that they are being called "gods in white attire" by the public.
Worldwide, as number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise and countries remain under lockdown, health workers are being thanked in different ways. In European nations, including Italy, Spain and UK, people were seen standing in their balconies, clapping as a mark of gratitude.
In India, about two weeks ago, people cheered for the medical professionals and those providing essential services amid by coming out of their balconies, clanging utensils and blowing conch shells after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal.
COVID-19, which originated in China's Wuhan city, has spread to over 140 countries, infecting more than 800,000. Nearly 42,000 have died.