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Can’t supply oxygen to other states: Pinarayi to PM Modi

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the rising number of Covid-19 patients needing hospitalisation will necessitate around 450 MT of medical oxygen by May 15.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File)

The Kerala government on Monday informed the Centre that it would not be able to provide oxygen to other states as projections suggest the state’s active Covid-19 caseload would jump to 6 lakh by May 15.

The state’s active cases stood at 4.19 lakh till Monday evening.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the rising number of Covid-19 patients needing hospitalisation will necessitate around 450 metric tonnes (MT) of medical oxygen by May 15.

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The letter said the state’s daily production of medical oxygen is only 219 MT, but it had ensured a buffer stock of 450 MT without putting pressure on the national oxygen grid.

However, due to rising demands from neighbouring states, the buffer stock was transported to other states, and as result, the stock in Kerala has fallen to 86 MT.

Vijayan said that the state would allot 40 MT of medical oxygen to Tamil Nadu up to May 10 but it would not be possible to supply more oxygen to other states after that.

In his letter, Vijayan said since Kerala was not located close to steel plants and transporting oxygen to the state would take a long time, the daily production of 219 MT would be needed for patients within the state.

The Chief Minister also asked the Centre to run ‘Oxygen Express’ trains for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana to provide the additional quantity of liquid medical oxygen needed in these states.

After a daily review of the Covid-19 situation, Vijayan told the media that the test positivity rate is above 50 per cent in 72 village panchayats and is above 30 per cent in 300-odd other local bodies. He also said the government would appoint more doctors and paramedical staff on a temporary basis in the face of rising cases.

Meanwhile, acting upon a High Court directive, the government fixed the rates to be charged by private hospitals for Covid-19 treatment. The government said action would be taken against the hospitals which charge an exorbitant rate for PPE kits, oximeters and masks.

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