India has enough oxygen stock, no need to panic: Govt
   Date :27-Apr-2021

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NEW DELHI,
 
Central Government is monitoring the movement of oxygen-carrying tankers on real-time basis through GPS and making them available to hospitals at the shortest possible time 
 
INDIA has enough stock of medical oxygen, but the issue is its transportation from the producing States to high-demand areas which the Government is trying to address, the Home Ministry said Monday. Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Piyush Goyal also said the turnaround time of oxygen-carrying tankers was reduced to 1-2 hours from 4-5 days by taking the help of the Indian Air Force transport aircraft which have been ferrying empty tankers. “We have enough stock of oxygen. The issue is transportation which we are trying to resolve by active involvement of all stake holders,” Goyal told a press conference here.
 
Amidst increasing demand for oxygen in the country due to the surging coronavirus cases, he said, “There is absolutely no need to panic for oxygen as we are trying to resolve the issue of oxygen transportation from the producing States to high demand areas.” He also said the Central Government is monitoring the movement of oxygen-carrying tankers on real-time basis through GPS and making them available to hospitals at the shortest possible time. Since Friday, the Home Ministry has been coordinating efforts to deploy empty oxygen tankers and containers in various filling stations across the country to speed up the distribution of the much-needed medical oxygen in treating COVID-19 patients. The Central Government is trying to source oxygen from different parts of the country and making it available in worst hit States by running special trains.
 
The Government on Monday sought to allay people’s fears, saying unnecessary panic is causing more harm than good. Stressing on the need for vaccination and observing COVID-19 appropriate behaviours, the Government advised that it is time people start wearing masks inside their homes as well. It also pitched for expediting the pace of the vaccination drive and asserted that women can take COVID-19 vaccine during menstruation as well. Addressing a joint press conference with other senior functionaries, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Lav Agarwal said many people have been found to be occupying hospital beds out of panic. Hospital admission should only be on the advice of doctors, he stressed. Amid a shortage of medical oxygen, the Government said India has enough medical oxygen available, but the challenge is to transport it to hospitals. The Government said it is taking various measures to ensure adequate supply of oxygen to hospitals.
 
The Government asked hospitals for judicious use of oxygen and to plug leakage, if any. It also said that rational use of medical oxygen and appropriate prescription of drugs such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab are critical in the fight against the pandemic. The Government said effectiveness of Remdesivir on critical patients is “not well-established” yet as it suggested use of other prescribed drugs. Agarwal said that however much infrastructure is created, it will come under stress looking at the population of the country and added that it is important to curb the infection. The Government stressed on continuing vaccination of people, even at a faster pace, and maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviours. Research has shown that if no physical distancing measures are followed, one person can infect 406 people in 30 days, it said, adding that if physical exposure is reduced by 50 per cent then one person can infect around 15 people during the period. And, if physical exposure is reduced by 75 per cent, then one person can infect around 2.5 people in 30 days. It’s time people start wearing masks inside their homes as well, the Government said. On the vaccination drive, Agarwal said of the 14.19 crore vaccine doses administered in India so far, 9.79 crore people aged 45 and above have got the first dose and 1.03 crore in the age bracket have received the second dose.