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Covid-19: Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday informed that first Oxygen Express carrying liquid medical oxygen has reached Kerala. "The first Oxygen Express to Kerala has reached Ernakulam from Kalinganagar with medical Oxygen for COVID-19 patients in the State," Piyush Goyal wrote on Twitter.


News agency ANI also reported that first Oxygen Express train carrying six 20ft cryogenic containers with 118 metric tonnes liquid medical oxygen had reached Vallarpadam terminal of Kochi port. The oxygen containers were dispatched from the Tata Steel plant, Odisha.

This comes just days after Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking enhancement of the state's daily oxygen supply to 450 metric tonnes (MT).

In the letter, the chief minister said that Kerala was witnessing a major surge of Covid cases. "In the second wave of the pandemic, the state is witnessing significant increase in the number of patients who require critical care including oxygen support." He also said that his government was adhering to the decisions of the Centre and continuing to supply liquid medical oxygen to other states, even though the situation in his state is already precarious.

"The current oxygen generation capacity in Kerala is 212.34 MT per day. Based on scientific projections, the total daily oxygen requirement for medical purposes in Kerala could rapidly rise to 423.60 MT within the next three days. At present, the storage of oxygen in hospitals is only for less than 24 hours," he wrote.

The chief minister said Kerala will not be able to manage the oxygen demand without assistance from the Centre. "It is requested that Kerala's daily oxygen allocation may be immediately enhanced to 450 MT...at least 300 MT oxygen may be immediately rushed to Kerala from neighbouring storage points to augment the storage in hospitals in the wake of the impending cyclonic storm," the chief minister had said.

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