Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting today to review oxygen supplies amid shortages of hospitals as the more deadly second wave of coronavirus hits the country.
Officials briefed the prime minister of the efforts made in recent weeks to improve oxygenation, the prime minister’s office said.
“The prime minister spoke about the need to work quickly on several aspects: increasing oxygen production, increasing the rate of distribution and using innovative methods to provide oxygen support to healthcare facilities,” he said.
The availability of medical oxygen has been increased by around 3,300 tons per day through contributions from private and public steelworks, industries, oxygen manufacturers and the ban on oxygen supply for non-essential industries.
The Prime Minister was informed that the oxygen demand from the states is steadily increasing due to the high number of Covid cases. India saw record Covid spikes today with 3.14 lakh infections per day and 2,104 deaths. This is the fastest increase in cases and deaths any country has ever suffered.
Officials told the prime minister that they are working with states to get the 162 sanctioned oxygen plants up and running as soon as possible. Last week, the center approved the installation of these plants in public health facilities across all states in response to a surge in medical oxygen due to spikes in coronavirus cases.
The Prime Minister instructed officials to ensure that oxygen supplies to various states were smooth and unhindered. He spoke about the need to settle accountability with the local administration for violations, his office added. Ministries have been asked by the Prime Minister to explore various innovative ways to increase the production and supply of oxygen.
Representatives of the medical community also discussed the need for sensible use of oxygen and how an audit in some states has reduced oxygen needs without harming the condition of patients.
The Prime Minister also stressed that states should decline sharply on hoarding.