Plan To Plug Oxygen Gap From PM-CARES As Covid Leaves States Gasping

New Delhi:

A hundred new hospitals will get their own oxygen plants with funds from the PM-CARES fund, the government said on Thursday, amid a surge in coronavirus cases that has battered healthcare services across the country and left several states scrambling for treatment essentials.

Supplies of oxygen ran short in places several states but the government has said India is producing oxygen at full capacity for each of the last two days and it had boosted output.

“Along with the ramped up production… and the surplus stocks available, the present availability is sufficient,” the health ministry said in a statement.

A separate government statement said 12 states – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan – have been identified as “high burden”.

“An indicative framework has been developed to guide the states on the sources of medical oxygen,” the statement said.

Some 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants, which help hospitals make their own medical oxygen, sanctioned under the PM-CARES fund are being closely reviewed for early completion, it said.

The government will also identify another 100 hospitals in far flung locations for consideration of sanction for installation of PSA plants, it added.

As COVID-19 infections surged to a new daily record on Thursday, experts have blamed everything from official complacency to aggressive variants. The government blamed a widespread failure to practise physical distancing and wear face masks.

India has added over 2 lakh infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, for a seventh daily record surge in the last eight days, while 1,038 deaths took its number of fatalities to 173,123.

Its tally of 1.41 crore infections is second only to the United States, with 3.14 crore.

Despite injecting about 11.4 crore vaccine doses, the highest figure worldwide after the United States and China, India has covered only a small part of its 135 crore people.

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