New Delhi: The Centre has allowed states to spend up to 50% of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to fight COVID-19. The Centre said that the SDRF fund can be used for quarantine facilities, testing laboratories, oxygen generation plants and purchase of ventilators and PPE kits to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

This decision comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to seven worst affected states and said that his government has increased the states' limit to spend the SDRF to boost infrastructure to fight the pandemic.

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Under the new norms, the cost of consumables for sample collection, support for checking, screening and contact tracing, procurement of essential equipment and laboratories for response to COVID-19, cost of setting up additional testing laboratories within the government and the cost of consumables and testing kit will be allowed.

According to reports, the cost of personal protection equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities, cost of thermal scanners, ventilators, air purifiers, oxygen generation and storage plant in hospitals, strengthening ambulance services for transport of patients, setting up of containment zones, COVID-19 hospital, COVID-19 care centres and consumables in the government hospitals will also be covered under it.

India's COVID-19 tally has crossed the 57-lakh mark with a spike of 86,508 new cases. 1,129 deaths were reported on September 24.

The health ministry's latest update informed that the total case tally stands at 5,732,519 including 9,66,382 active cases, 46,74,988 cured/discharged/migrated and 91,149 deaths.