India’s capacity to produce oxygen is slightly more than 6,900 metric tonne, said Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Ministry on Tuesday, adding that there is no shortage of oxygen in the country.
Oxygen support is one of the key medical procedures in the treatment of coronavirus patients. Over six per cent of patients battling with the pathogen currently require oxygen, according to the Ministry.
“Today’s capacity for production of oxygen is slightly more than 6,900 metric tonne. If we look at the today’s morning data, 3.69 per cent of total COVID-19 patients were on oxygen support, 2.17 per cent were on ICU beds with oxygen, 0.36 per cent patients were on ventilator support with oxygen. Hence more than 6 per cent COVID-19 patients were on oxygen support,” Bhushan said while replying to a question on oxygen supply for patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.
“We have a daily requirement of 2,800 metric tonne for COVID and non-COVID health use and 2,200 metric tonne for industrial use. So, we require a total of 5,000 metric tonne per day. We have a surplus of 1,900 metric tonne. There is no shortage of oxygen,” he added.
Bhushan said that problems occur when there is no inventory management at a facility-level.
“Each state needs to ensure proper inventory management so that oxygen can be replenished in time. States should seek the Centre’s help if they face any problem. A control room needs to be established by states to monitor oxygen cylinders,” he added.
On Monday, the Centre had directed 29 States including Union Territories to maintain effective coordination with steel plants for oxygen procurement since steel plants provide approximately 550 MT/day oxygen in addition to oxygen manufacturers who provide 6,400 MT/day.
According to the Health Ministry, states have to ensure adequate oxygen availability in all healthcare facilities in these states and unrestricted intra as well as the interstate movement of oxygen.
Bhushan has also directed the state government to ensure facility wise/hospital wise oxygen inventory management and advance planning for timely replenishment so that there is no stockout.
“The union government has also advised states to ensure that no restrictions are imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between states/UTs and ensure the provision of “Green Corridor” for Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) tankers within the cities,” said the Health Ministry in a statement.
“States have been asked to do real-time monitoring of cryogenic tankers used to supply oxygen and to repurpose Argon and Nitrogen carrying tankers to increase the number of oxygen carrier vehicles. Ensure timely payment of the due bills to the manufacturers and supplier to maintain uninterrupted supply of oxygen. Improve power supply infrastructure and ensure uninterrupted supply to Oxygen Manufacturing Units,” the government said.

The Centre said that the hospitals had to improve storage capacity and identify MSME units whose storage capacity can be used to store oxygen.

“Undertake Oxygen Consumption Audit, ensure only cases requiring medical oxygenation are administered with oxygen and prevent leakages due to negligence of hospital staff and ensure proper disinfection of oxygen cylinders as per protocols while sending cylinders to fillers of oxygen.”

The government also advised states to expedite the process of grant of licenses to produce medical oxygen to those already producing industrial oxygen.
India’s COVID-19 case count crossed the 49-lakh mark on Tuesday. A total of 49,30,237 cases have been reported in the country including 9,90,061 active cases, 38,59,400 cured/discharged/migrated patients and 80,776 deaths.