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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the availability and supply of oxygen and medicines to check the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country. The Prime Minister has been holding regular meetings on the Covid-19 situation, suggesting ways to check its spread and proactively taking key decisions to give a boost to health infrastructure in the country.
Wednesday’s meeting focussed on availability and supply of oxygen and medicines in the wake of various state governments flagging shortages in supply.
The Prime Minister took stock of the situation on oxygen availability and supply. The ministers told him that the supply of oxygen is now more than three times the supply during the peak of the first wave.
Amid reports of ventilators lying unused in some states, PM Modi said at the meeting that states should be asked to operationalise them in a time-bound manner and resolve technical and training issues with the help of the manufacturers, according to people aware of the developments.
He also said that India has a very vibrant pharmaceutical sector and the Centre’s continued close coordination with them will ensure proper availability of all medicines, according to people cited above.
During the meeting, the ministers told the Prime Minister that the Centre is actively monitoring the supply of drugs being used in the management of Covid as well mucormycosis – a black fungus which has affected many Covid-19 patients. The symptoms of mucormycosis or black fungus include pain and redness around the eyes and/or nose, fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, vomits with blood, altered mental status.
PM Modi was also informed that government officials are in regular touch with manufacturers of oxygen and medicines to enhance production and extend all kinds of help needed. The ministers said that states are being provided medicines in good quantities.
The Prime Minister was also apprised that the production of all drugs including Remdesivir have been ramped up significantly in the last few weeks.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that PM Modi was also briefed about the operations of oxygen rail and sorties by Indian Air Force (IAF) planes besides the status of procurement of oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders as well as the status of plants being installed across the country to produce the life-saving gas.
Many state governments, including worst-hit Maharashtra and Delhi, have flagged the issue of shortage of vaccines in their respective areas. Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that the state government has halted the vaccination of those between the ages of 18 and 44, and diverted the vaccines to give a second dose to those above the age of 45.
In Delhi, the lawmaker of ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Atishi said that stocks of Covishield will last only nine days.