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According to the ministry, around 43,022 patients were on oxygen support as on 1 September, but the number had increased to 75,000 in the third week of the month. (PTI)
According to the ministry, around 43,022 patients were on oxygen support as on 1 September, but the number had increased to 75,000 in the third week of the month. (PTI)

Govt looks to ramp up oxygen availability

  • Centre is establishing 246 oxygen generation plants across 18 states and Union territories in the first phase

Despite more than adequate stocks of medical oxygen for treating covid-19 patients, the Centre is setting up new facilities to add capacity, and looking at imports to create buffer stock for any exigencies, the government said on Tuesday.

“There was neither any shortage of medical oxygen in the country during the last 10 months nor any shortage is being faced now. In spite of daily consumption of oxygen, the oxygen supply has been in surplus. Peak consumption of medical oxygen of 2,791 metric tonnes per day was during 9-15 September, which has come down to 2,503 MT per day in the second week of October. Now, there is a surplus of 17,103 MT," said Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, ministry of health and family welfare.

According to the ministry, around 43,022 patients were on oxygen support as on 1 September, but the number had increased to 75,000 in the third week of the month. At present, 57,000 patients are on oxygen support.

The Centre is establishing 246 oxygen generation plants across 18 states and Union territories in the first phase. Of these, 67 are at various stages of completion. In the second phase, 150 plants will be set up across 30 states/UTs, he said.

“As a proactive intervention, the government is planning to install PSA oxygen generating plants in over 390 hospitals across India. In addition to this, import of 100,000 MT liquid medical oxygen has also been initiated to address any anticipated surge in covid- 19 cases," he added.

The government said oxygen-supported beds increased from 93,000 in April to more than 380,000 now, including O2 supported beds, ICU and ventilator beds. Likewise, oxygen production capacity has been enhanced from 5,913 MT in April to 6,862 MT in September, and will reach 7,191 MT by the end of October.

On Tuesday, India’s covid-19 count was at 7,613,173, with 115,370 fatalities, and 6.7 million recoveries. While fresh cases touched almost a three-month low of 46,790 in the past 24 hours, 69,720 patients were discharged, to bring down the number of active cases to 750,327.

The recovery rate, too, further improved to 88.63%.

Graphic: Mint
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Graphic: Mint


The government said that India’s cumulative positivity rate remains below 8% despite the increase in the number of covid-19 tests. “As of now only 9.8% of the total covid-19 cases reported are active. Daily positivity rate is 4.5% and shows a consistent declining trend," Bhushan said.

“India’s cases per million population is 310, while the world average is 315. A second surge of covid-19 cases is seen in many countries like Spain, America, UK and France. India still accounts for low deaths per million, at 83, whereas the world average is 142," he said. “The daily new cases have come down from over 69,000 in September to around 46,000 in October. Since 29 July, that is after 84 days, new cases recorded in the last 24 hours are less than 50,000."

Maharashtra (23.8%), Karnataka (14.19%) and Kerala (12.40%) still account for around 50% of the active cases in the county.

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