Home/ News / India/  Centre tells states to lift all restrictions on movement of medical oxygen

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday directed states to lift all restrictions on the movement of medical oxygen between them, reiterating the critical importance of oxygen in hospitals for management of critical covid-19 patients.

In a letter written to the states/UTs, Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, on Friday said that availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important prerequisite for managing moderate and severe cases of covid-19.

“It has come to the knowledge of the Union health ministry that few states are trying to curb the free inter-state movement of oxygen supplies by exercising provisions under various Acts and also mandating the manufacturers/suppliers located in the state to restrict their oxygen supplies to only the hospitals of the state," the Union health ministry said in a statement.

The health secretary in his letter asked states/UTs to ensure that no restriction is imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between them. It has been strongly reinforced that it is every state's responsibility to ensure that every hospitalized covid-19 patient receives oxygen, he said in the letter.

The government said that medical oxygen constitutes an essential public health commodity and any impediment in the supplies of medical oxygen in the country may critically affect the management of patients suffering from covid-19 in other parts of the country. Moreover, some of the major oxygen manufacturers/supplies already have existing supply agreements with hospitals in various states, with a legal obligation to fulfill such agreements.

The Centre-led covid-19 management strategy is based on Standard of Care Treatment Guidelines. These guidelines have ensured a uniform and standardized quality of medical care in all the covid facilities, including hospitals. For moderate and severe cases, adequate oxygen support, appropriate and timely administration of anti-coagulants and widely available and inexpensive corticosteroids, in accordance with the protocol, can be considered to be the mainstay of covid-19 therapy, the Union health ministry said, adding that adequate supply of oxygen throughout the country has enabled effective clinical care of the hospitalized moderate and severe cases, in conjunction with other measures. The adopted strategies have resulted in rising recovery rate and steadily declining case fatality rate (at 1.67% currently). As on date, less than 3.7% of active patients are on oxygen support.

The total number of active cases in the country stands at 943,480 as on 11 September. Maharashtra is leading this tally with more than 260,000 cases, followed by Karnataka with more than 100,000 cases. Nearly 74% of the total active cases are in nine most affected states. Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh contribute more than 48% of the total active cases.

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Updated: 11 Sep 2020, 04:32 PM IST
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