No crisis of oxygen in Bengal, says official as state now has worst COVID growth rate in India

KOLKATA: There is no crisis of medical oxygen in West Bengal and the state has adequate stock of the life-saving gas, a senior state government official said after a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the current spike in COVID-19 cases.

There is “no question of any crisis in oxygen” at the moment as the state has a daily average production of 457 MT of the gas whereas the requirement is close to 223 MT per day, the official said.

“There is no crisis of medical oxygen in West Bengal. We have adequate storage of the gas. So there is no question of any crisis,” he told PTI.

The state is also planning to start supplying oxygen through pipeline to hospitals primarily treating COVID-19 patients, he said.

The review meeting discussed that there are a total 20,000 beds in the private and the state-run clinical establishments to treat corona patients in the state, the official said.

Banerjee held the review meeting at the state secretariat after the state Election Commission gave her the nod for it.

Chief secretary Alapan Bandyapadhyay, home secretary H K Dwidevi and health secretary N S Nigam were present at the meeting, offical sources said.

The state, at 9.5%, has the highest Covid case growth in the country, data shared by the Union Health Ministry shows.

West Bengal is followed by Karnataka which has a near explosive growth rate of 9% while Delhi, reeling under a huge medical oxygen crisis, has the second-lowest growth rate at 1.5% after Maharashtra (0.5%), among the surge states.

The figures showing a stark scenario in West Bengal have been released even as the Centre and the ruling BJP have come under massive criticism for holding huge rallies in the state whose capital, Kolkata at about 50%, is now reporting the highest test positivity rate.

India, now the worst Covid-hit globally, has been reporting nearly 1,500 or more daily deaths since April 20 and on Sunday, the highest 2,812 fatalities were recorded. On top of these alarming figures, there are concerns that the fatalities due to the infectious disease are being majorly undercounted in most of the cities and towns in the country.

The country now has 28, 13, 656 active cases of which 3,52,991 cases were registered in the last 24 hours but the Centre has not disclosed the number of people hospitalized, on oxygen support, ICU, or those on ventilators at present.

In the press briefing on Monday by the Health Ministry, several government authorities including VK Paul, member, Niti Aayog, and Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS (Delhi) stressed that no healthcare infrastructure in the world can take the load of such huge numbers.

Both Paul and Guleria, senior members of the national Covid task force, urged Covid patients to manage their condition at home under the home isolation protocols by the government unless hospitalization is absolutely required.

As per the details shared by the Health Ministry, 10 states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Rajasthan report 74.5% of the new cases.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 66,191. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 35,311 while Karnataka reported 34,804 new cases. The country’s total active caseload now comprises 16.25% of the country’s total positive Case

A net incline of 1,30,907 cases have been recorded from the total active caseload in the last 24 hours, the government underlined.

The details showed that 8 states–Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Kerala cumulatively account for 69.67% of India’s total active cases.

(With ENS Inputs)