Piyush Goyal Holds Review Meeting Over Medical Oxygen Preparedness Amid Surge In COVID Cases

New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday chaired a review meeting with senior officials over medical oxygen preparedness in the country in the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases.

During the second wave of COVID-19, an unprecedented surge in demand for medical oxygen was reported across the country. The demand peaked at nearly 9,000 MT (metric tonnes) this year as compared to the peak requirement of 3,095 MT during the first wave, news agency PTI reported.

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The supply of oxygen for medical purposes was also enhanced almost 10 times from 1,000 tonnes per day in December 2019 to 9,600 tonnes per day in May this year.

Officials from ministries including road, steel and health, and the NITI Aayog attended the meeting, PTI reported.

In the meeting, Piyush Goyal recommended that special focus be given to remote states along with shoring up online monitoring and reporting systems.

A break-up of the PSA (pressure swing adsorption) plants commissioned across the country was also shared with the members of the group during the meeting.

Members of the meeting were apprised about the oxygen demand aggregation system (ODAS) that has been developed by the National Health Authority, PTI reported an official as saying.

Earlier in the day, Piyush Goyal informed about the review meeting over medical oxygen preparedness on Twitter.

“Held a review meeting on the medical oxygen preparedness in the country. Deliberated on effective ways to ensure adequate medical oxygen availability for strengthening the fight against COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote.

As of December 27, liquid medical oxygen production capacity was over 8,780 MT and actual production is over 5,500 MT.

According to PTI, till December 29 this year, over 1,200 cryogenic tanks were installed in different hospitals for storage of oxygen as against 790 on December 31, 2020. Similarly, the number of oxygen cylinders as of December this year is over 12.5 lakh as compared with 8.7 lakh in the same month last year.

India’s R Naught Value At 1.22, Govt Stresses COVID Cases Are Increasing

The Union government on Thursday cautioned that Coronavirus cases in India are increasing, not shrinking, as India’s R naught value, which indicates the spread of COVID-19, is 1.22. “India’s R naught value, which indicates the spread of COVID-19, is 1.22 so cases are increasing, not shrinking,” the government said, as reported by PTI.

According to the Union Health Ministry’s briefing, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Karnataka, and Gujarat are emerging as states and UTs of concern on the basis of weekly COVID-19 cases and positivity rate.

India’s active caseload currently stands at 82,402. The Health Ministry mentioned that more than 8,000 average daily new cases were recorded in the last one week while more than 10,000 daily cases were reported after 33 days.

The government stressed that there is a need for a heightened vigil in view of the sharp increase in infections. Meanwhile, as per the Centre, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Kerala are the top states where Omicron cases have been reported.

(With Agency Inputs)