Goyal engages with states, UTs to review oxygen availability

New Delhi, Sep 19 : Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Saturday addressed 12 states and union territories and reviewed their oxygen availability.

He requested them to focus on analysing district-level and health facility-level status and effectively plan and manage logistical issues related with its availability.

On September 15, the Health Ministry had clarified that there is no dearth of medical oxygen in the country, after there were alleged reports of oxygen scarcity in the country.

The ministry said that there is a surplus of thousands of metric tonnes of oxygen. Medical oxygen is used for oxygen therapy in hospitals, and it is considered on par with a drug or a pharmaceutical product.

As part of the Centre's coordinated strategy for effective containment and management of COVID-19, a high-level review meeting was chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.

Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Union Health Secretary, Secretary, Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, senior officials of the Health Ministry, Ministry of Home Affairs and Chief Secretaries participated in the review meeting.

The states and UTs that participated in the conference included Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Chandigarh, Telangana, Kerala, Delhi, Punjab and West Bengal.

About 80 per cent of the COVID caseload in the country is concentrated in these regions. Goyal also urged the states to share their best practices which in turn can be emulated by other states and UTs in the country.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, while complementing the states for significantly ramping up testing, expressed concern that the case fatality rates of several states are still higher than that of the national average.

He urged the states to analyse mortalities district-wise and hospital-wise for identification of critical areas of intervention.

He also exhorted the states to ensure optimal utilisation of RT-PCR capacity.

The Cabinet Secretary underlined the need for ensuring that no symptomatic negative case (tested by Rapid Antigen Tests) is missed and all such cases are mandatorily administered RT-PCR test.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan presented a detailed status note of COVID-19 on all these states with particular focus on the number of tests being conducted in each state and UT, their positivity rate and their average daily CFR, availability of health infrastructure and their district-wise oxygen availability.



Source: IANS