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Daily toll touches new peak as officials ramp up equipment orders

Amid the rise in deaths, a top government official said the country has increased the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and oxygen, and is well-equipped for the future.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 2, 2020 8:27:23 am
Coronavirus death toll, coronavirus cases in India, India lockdown, deaths in last 24 hours, covid-19 india situation, indian express Coronavirus: A vegetable vendor sets up his shop with a message of social distancing in Pune.

Seventy-seven people died of COVID-19 over a 24-hour period-the biggest single-day toll-taking the total number of deaths to 1,152 on Friday. The total number of cases now stand at 35,365, with 1,755 new cases reported over 24 hours. The number of recoveries is at 9,064.

Amid the rise in deaths, a top government official said the country has increased the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and oxygen, and is well-equipped for the future.

P D Vaghela, the secretary of the pharmaceuticals department and chairman of the empowered group on PPEs, ventilators etc, also said the Centre is helping states procure kits to ensure adequate testing.

“ICMR has reached a per-day testing level of about 70,000 and has conducted more than 9 lakh tests as of now. The strategy is to take testing forward as a need-based focused tool,” Vaghela said.

In a detailed presentation on equipment availability, the official also said India would need 75,000 ventilators by June against the present availability of 19,398. “Orders for 60,884 ventilators have been placed,” Vaghela said.

The country, he added, is self-sufficient when it comes to the production of oxygen and oxygen cylinders. “About 409 hospitals have their own oxygen generation and there are about 1050 cryogenic tankers in the country. About 4.38 lakh medical oxygen cylinders are available for supply. Further, orders for 1.03 lakh new medical oxygen cylinders have been placed,” he said.

The Health Ministry is procuring oxygen for the first time and putting it into the supply chain.

The Centre has also placed orders for PPEs and N-95 masks in line with the projected rise in demand.

As of Friday, 13.75 lakh combined RT-PCR testing kits have been received.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) production, too, has been ramped up from 12.23 crore tablets to 30 crore tablets per month.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan spoke with Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey to take stock of the acute encephalitis syndrome situation in the state.

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