Coronavirus | Ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen, says Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh recorded 30,596 new cases and 129 deaths over the last 24 hours, as per the health department.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to take immediate steps to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen to patients amid reports of shortage in some places.

While government officials so far have maintained there was no shortage, a government statement quoting Mr. Adityanath on Sunday took note of the complaints. “Have received information of shortage of oxygen cylinder in some places. Take immediate action in this regard,” Mr. Adityanath told officials.

“There should be no delay in the process of purchasing the cylinders,” he said, directing the Medical Education Minister to personally monitor the supply and distribution of oxygen.

The government has already issued instructions that all medical oxygen being supplied for industry work should be stopped immediately and the entire supply be made to only hospitals and announced the setting up of 10 new oxygen plants in the state with the support of the DRDO.

The State recorded 30,596 new cases and 129 deaths over the last 24 hours, as per the health department. The worst-hit continued to be Lucknow with 22 deaths and 5,551 cases. Prayagraj, Varanasi and Kanpur followed with 15, 10 and eight deaths, and 1,711, 2011and 1839 cases, respectively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the status of COVID-19 in Varanasi through video conferencing and directed officials to provide all possible assistance to the public expeditiously.

Meanwhile, patients continued to struggle to find beds, medicine and oxygen cylinders. Ambar Srivastava’s mother, a diabetic with blood pressure and thyroid illness, was admitted to a private hospital here but after her COVID-19 status turned out positive, the hospital asked the family to shift her elsewhere as they did not have the necessary quarantine facility.

“Since the last 24 hours I have been dialling the COVID-19 control room but I am not getting any response,” Mr. Srivastava said.

He spoke to a senior police officer who assured him a bed in another private hospital dedicated for COVID-19 by the government. However, the family is still waiting. As her oxygen saturation levels were dropping at a fast rate, the family were forced to purchase an oxygen cylinder from a private dealer. The hospital where she is admitted told the family they don’t have any more oxygen supply. “The hospital told us they ran out of supply and have informed the dealer,” he said.

Due to the shortage of beds and load on other essentials in Lucknow, several families have preferred to shift their patients to hospitals in nearby districts in hope of better medical attention.

Sahil Singh’s entire family is COVID-19 positive. His mother’s condition is worrying. Without oxygen support, her oxygen levels are falling, he says. “She starts feeling breathless and weak without oxygen,” said Mr. Singh, an IT professional, from a government hospital in Ambedkar Nagar district where they are admitted. While the family is being provided oxygen facilities in the hospital, they are struggling to find six vials of Remdevisir drug for his mother.

Amit Mohan Prasad, additional chief secretary health, said the government was trying to ensuring sufficient availability of medicine, medical equipment and beds. However, “due to the constant rise in numbers” there was “constant pressure” on the established facilities, he said.

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