New Delhi: Taking a serious note of shortage of medical oxygen in many States amid surging COVID-19 cases, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the Centre has taken concrete steps to resolve the issue and situation will be normalised soon.
He chaired a high-level meeting with the Health Ministers of 11 States and Union Territories (UTs) and reviewed the availability of oxygen, ventilators, manpower, medicines, hospital beds in the affected States/UTs including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
After the meeting, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the Government of India was developing oxygen generation plants in many hospitals across the country.
“We are buying 1 lakh more cylinders. Last year, we purchased 1 lakh cylinders and gave them free of cost to all the States. The process of moving oxygen from one State to another will not be a hindrance now. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued necessary orders in this regard,” he said.
On shortage of Remdesivir, he said that it would be handled as quickly as possible.
“For this, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers is getting full support from many big companies. They have also been asked to increase their production. Along with this, the export of this drug has been banned outside India. For any type of black marketing or hoarding of this drug or black marketing of other drugs, instructions have been given to take strict action through the Drug Controller,” he said.
Issues related to COVID-19 vaccination and genome sequencing were also discussed during the meeting besides increasing testing and contact tracing strategies, he added.