Chandigarh, Sep 14 (IANS) With Covid-19 cases and fatalities rising in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday directed the Health Department to step up manufacturing of medical oxygen to supplement current supplies in order to ensure that there is no shortage to tackle any future crisis.
The state has been procuring all its medical oxygen from other states including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
However, as cases continue to spike, and amid reports of oxygen shortages in several parts of the country, the Chief Minister stressed the need to generate additional supplies through internal manufacturing also.
In line with this decision, the Health Department has so far issued license to one industrial oxygen supplier in Punjab to manufacture medical oxygen, while six packaging units have been allowed to package oxygen for medical use.
With this, the state now has internal capacity to manufacture 800 medical oxygen cylinders and pack 2,000 units per day, and the government hopes that with the supplies already being procured from other states, it can cope with any further escalation in demand in the coming weeks.
The state government has also appointed a nodal officer to monitor the supply and demand of medical oxygen, and the Chief Minister has asked the Health Department to ensure that indigenous production and packaging is further scaled up to meet any eventuality.
During a virtual meeting to assess the situation arising out of the pandemic, Amarinder Singh directed the department to ensure that there is no shortage of oxygen for treatment of Covid patients in the state.
The Chief Minister was informed that the state currently had adequate supplies of oxygen to meet the demand triggered by an increasing number of Covid cases.
He was further told that of the 6,653 Covid patients admitted at the Government Medical Colleges in the state, 5,269 had recovered and been discharged, and 550 were still under treatment.
Health Secretary Hussan Lal, in his presentation, apprised the Chief Minister of the various measures taken to boost testing and monitor home isolation cases, with the Health Department in the process of engaging a professional agency to monitor these.
The 104 medical helpline is monitoring home isolation cases, especially those aged above 40 years, to assess their parameters on a daily basis.
Over 2,500 calls have been made in the last four days to home isolation cases, the meeting was informed.