There was no report from states and Union territories of death because of lack of oxygen during the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic, the Union government told Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
However, the central government had to step in to facilitate equitable distribution to states because of the unprecedented surge in demand for medical oxygen during the second wave, minister of state of health and family welfare Bharti Pawar said in a written reply in the Upper House.
The demand for oxygen surged to nearly 9,000 metric tonnes (MT) during the second wave compared to 3,095 MT during the first wave. Pawar’s reply came on the question whether a large number of covid-19 patients died on roads and hospitals because of acute shortage of oxygen during the second wave.
The government of India supported the states and undertook a series of actions, including provisioning medical oxygen and other consumables, to ensure clinical care of covid-19 patients in view of the steep rise of the covid-19 trajectory in the country during April-May 2021, Pawar told Parliament.
The supply of medical oxygen to hospitals is determined by contractual arrangements between the hospital concerned and the medical oxygen supplier.
A dynamic and transparent framework for allocation of medical oxygen in consultation with states and Union territories and all the stakeholders such as relevant ministries, manufacturers and suppliers of liquid oxygen was prepared. The active case load of the states and Union territories was the primary determinant of oxygen allocation, while other factors such as case doubling rate and available medical infrastructure were also given due consideration.
The allocation was kept dynamic according to the changing pandemic load. The first allocation order was issued on 15 April 2021 and this was revised from time to time on the basis of trends of active cases and supply position. A total allocation of 10,250 MT has been done to 26 high burden states as on 28 May 2021, the health minister said.
The central government, along with state governments, took all possible steps to tackle the unprecedented surge in oxygen demand during the second wave of the pandemic, Pawar said.
Meanwhile , Prime Minister Narendra Modi , at an all-party meeting, urged the leaders of the House to rise above politics and properly plan vaccination drive across the country.
“There is need to properly plan the vaccination drives at the district level,” Modi said.
He added: “The pandemic should not be a matter of politics and is a matter of concern for the entire world.”
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