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Centre planned 3600+ oxygen plants for supply boost

Ahead of the festive season that has the potential to trigger a Covid-19 spike, the Centre on Thursday said nearly 1,600 oxygen generating PSA plants were commissioned in hospitals across the country whereas another 2,000 odd such plants were being set up.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said as many as 3,631 pressure swing adsorption plants were being set up to generate nearly 4,600 metric tonnes of oxygen per day. As of now around 40% of such plants – 1,595 plants to be exact – have been commissioned to produce 2,100 MT of oxygen.

During the ferocious second surge of the Covid-19 epidemic in India, the availability of oxygen was a major crisis faced by many hospitals leading to complications in patient management and deaths.

However, last month the Union Health Ministry stated that no states barring one had reported any Covid-19 deaths due to oxygen shortage contradicting the ground realities three months ago.

Bhushan said 34 districts — almost entirely in Kerala and North East — were reporting a weekly test positivity of more than 10% while another 32 districts have a positivity between 5-10%. Nearly 68% of cases reported last week are from Kerala even though there seems to be a stabilisation in the number of fresh cases reported daily.

NITI Ayog member Vinod Paul said Kerala reported a drop in cases, but Mizoram emerged as a worry. With 13,525 active cases, Mizoram is one of the five states with more than 10,000 active cases, others being much larger Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The government said 20% of India’s adult population received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and 62% have got at least one dose.

Administration of a booster dose was not being considered because such a strategy was not a central theme of scientific studies and giving the full dose to the adult population was more important, said Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research. Deccan Herald

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