Tamil Nadu Health Minister Vijayabaskar on Sunday inaugurated a plasma bank at the government hospital here, second in the state, to treat COVID-19 patients.

The 25 lakh facility is established with an aim to collect and store plasma from those who have recovered from the disease and help coronavirus patients recuperate quickly, he said. Last month, the government set up the first plasma bank at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General hospital in Chennai. The minister, along with Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani also inaugurated the renovated Artificial Limb manufacturing centre at the hospital, for the benefit of accident victims, at a cost of 50 lakh. A photographer of a leading Tamil daily became the first plasma donor, even though a college girl student and two Army personnel had donated their plasma for trial. Plasma is a fluid component of blood that contains antibodies that help fight the virus. Later, both the ministers held a review meeting with senior officials of health, revenue, police departments to discuss the coronavirus situation in the district. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Vijaya Bhaskar said the state government has plans to increase the bed strength in the district hospitals, which at present has 5,861 beds, as against 1.79 lakh beds across the State. He urged the people to adhere to the safety guidelines even if they were travelling with an e-pass and said it was not possible for home quarantine since there was no proper amenities in most of the houses. The minister also said the private hospitals in the state have been instructed to upgrade the oxygen facility. Asked about the COVID-19 death rate, Vijayabaskar said efforts were being taken to bring down the rate. However, majority of the deaths occured due to other ailments, he pointed out.

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