World

India ramps up oxygen supplies in Covid fight


Last updated on April 17, 2021 at 12.04 am
Read more...

The unrelenting rise in Covid-19 cases in India, which intensified unabatedly on Friday, saw the highest single-day spike in the country, with 217,353 cases and 1,183 deaths being reported.

The rapidly deteriorating situation saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertake a comprehensive review to ensure adequate medical grade oxygen supply in the country. He took a detailed review of the situation and the projected use of oxygen over the next fortnight in 12 ‘high burden’ states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Modi urged officials to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout the country. The government has exempted all interstate movement of oxygen tankers from registration of permits to enable easier movement.

Cylinder filling plants will also be permitted 24-hour working with necessary safeguards. The government is allowing industrial cylinders to be used for medical oxygen after due purging. Nitrogen and argon tankers will also be converted to oxygen tankers to overcome the potential shortage. Surplus stocks of oxygen in steel plants will also be offered for medical use.

The government will also import oxygen from abroad. According to a Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, a tender to import 50,000 MT of medical oxygen will be floated soon. The resurgence in Covid cases over the past few days have seen hospitals across the country complain about shortage of beds, essential drugs and medical oxygen. About 100 hospitals in distant areas will be selected for installation of oxygen manufacturing plants; this is in addition to the 162 sanctioned earlier.

India’s coronavirus crisis has turned critical and the country has now replaced Brazil as the second worst-hit nation after the US, with 14.29 million cases. The death toll has gone up to 174,335.

There have also been complaints of a shortage of coronavirus vaccines in the country. Reacting to this, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute (the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume), on Friday appealed to US President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on export of raw materials for the production of the Covishield vaccine.

“Respected POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the US, I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the US so that vaccine production can ramp up,” tweeted Poonawalla.

With Covid-19 cases surging across the country, demand for vaccines is also soaring and is expected to continue over the next few weeks, as millions of Indians above the age of 45 rush to seek vaccination.

The government will also import oxygen from abroad. According to a Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, a tender to import 50,000 MT of medical oxygen will be floated soon.

The resurgence in Covid cases over the past few days have seen hospitals across the country complain about shortage of beds, essential drugs and medical oxygen.

About 100 hospitals in distant areas will be selected for installation of oxygen manufacturing plants; this is in addition to the 162 sanctioned earlier.

India’s coronavirus crisis has turned critical and the country has now replaced Brazil as the second worst-hit nation after the US, with 14.29 million cases.

There have also been complaints of a shortage of coronavirus vaccines in the country. Reacting to this, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute (the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume), on Friday appealed to US President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on export of raw materials for the production of the Covishield vaccine.

“Respected POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the US, I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up,” tweeted Poonawalla.

With Covid-19 cases surging across the country, demand for vaccines is also soaring and is expected to continue over the next few weeks, as millions of Indians above the age of 45 rush to seek vaccination.

news@khaleejtimes.com