Enough oxygen stock at present, but transportation to states is a challenge: Centre

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday reassured the country that despite the huge demand for medical oxygen for Covid patients, there is no problem of availability but conceded that its distribution and transportation to hospitals is a challenge.

As of April 24, said Piyush Goyal, additional secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs at a government briefing on Covid situation, that against the existing capacity of about 7,500 MT lmo production, 9,103 MT lmo had been manufactured in the country. 

The statement by the Centre comes a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that all liquid oxygen being manufactured in the country will be used only for medical purposes under the present circumstances.

The country, burdened with a huge number of active Covid cases — over 28 lakhs — is facing an enormous challenge of meeting the huge demand for medical oxygen as nearly 15% of all Covid cases require hospitalisation, the majority of them also needing supplemental oxygen.

Goyal underlined that most of the oxygen production in the country is concentrated in the eastern parts and it takes time for the crucial supply to reach various states on time, adding that railways has pitched in to ferry it rapidly to places where the requirement is the highest.

Authorities meanwhile also stressed the judicious use of oxygen amid an unprecedented situation.

“We have to reduce the number of cases and use hospital resources optimally. The judicious use of oxygen is very important. Right now, there is an unnecessary panic,” said Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS (New Delhi).

Officials underscored said that many people have been found to be occupying hospital beds out of panic and asked people to take admission only on doctors’ advice and also advised hospitals for judicious use of oxygen and to plug leakage.

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