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Oxygen shortage: Tremendous stress on system, govt tells Gujarat HC

It said that there was an average demand of 1,232 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen in the state between April 23 and May 7, which is stabilising now.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
May 11, 2021 4:08:35 am
The demand for oxygen in Punjab has doubled in a fortnight, from 152 metric tonnes to 304 metric tonnes on Sunday.

The “entire system is under tremendous stress due to the shortage of supply of oxygen”, according to an affidavit filed by the state government before the Gujarat High Court on Monday, in relation to a public interest litigation concerning Covid-19 upsurge and management.

It said that there was an average demand of 1,232 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen in the state between April 23 and May 7, which is stabilising now. Anticipating a further decline in four to five days, the state said that it has restored oxygen supply over the past three days to oxygen cylinder manufacturers, vaccine vial makers, air compressor manufacturers, which collectively consumes 22 MT per day.

The affidavit, filed by principal health secretary Jayanti Ravi, however, added that in the past few days, a decreasing trend in new cases of Covid-19 has been observed and that the state is seeing a “stabilisation in oxygen demand and consumption around 1,250 tonnes (MT)”, adding that “it would be necessary to watch new case detection for a few more days before arriving at any conclusion with respect to reduction in demand”. Hospitalisation lags new case detection by 4-5 days and bed occupancy in ICU lags new case detection by 10-12 days.

However, at a press conference at Gandhinagar on Monday, Ravi indicated that the state was readying for the third wave, going by scientists’ obsevations globally.

The affidavit said that going by the current trend, oxygen demand and consumption in the state will stay around 1,250 MT for 4-5 days before decreasing to 100 MT per week. “This estimation, however, is assuming that there is no trend reversal in daily positive cases,” the affidavit clarifies.

Meanwhile, as per the affidavit, districts such as Chhota Udepur, Junagadh, Patan and Porbandar, continue to see 100 per cent occupancy of beds in its dedicated Covid hospitals. Amreli, Aravalli, Banaskantha, Gir Somnath, Mahisagar and Rajkot have occupancy of upto 92-99 per cent. The health department has also submitted that as on May 8, nine universities of the 26 notified have started conducting RT-PCR tests. In five other universities, it would not be possible as they do not have appropriate RT-PCR machines, it said.

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