PM Modi chairs high-level Covid-19 meet, says oxygen plants should be functional at the earliest
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday chaired a high-level meet to review the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation in the country and the progress of oxygen augmentation and availability of medical oxygen ahead of a potential third wave of the pandemic.
Officials present at the meeting told the prime minister that more than 1,500 PSA oxygen plants are coming up across the nation with the help of the contributions from the PM-CARES fund as well as various ministries and PSUs.
The Prime Minister was informed that once all the PSA oxygen plants — to be set up in all states and districts of the country —are functional, they would support more than 4 lakh oxygenated beds.
There were widespread reports of oxygen unavailability in India during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. A scramble for government beds, medical oxygen, ventilators, and other pieces of equipment across the country was reported, even while the death toll and infections continued to rise exponentially.
The Prime Minister instructed officials to ensure that these plants are made functional at the earliest. He said that the central government officials should work closely with the state governments for the same and ensure that there is adequate training of hospital staff on the operation and maintenance of oxygen plants. Officers told the Prime Minister that they are in regular contact with officers from the state governments regarding the fast-tracking of the oxygen plants.
Prime Minister Modi also directed officials to ensure that each district has trained personnel available. The government should focus on deploying advanced technology like IoT to track the performance and functioning of these oxygen plants at a local and national level, he said. The officials briefed him regarding a training module prepared by experts, which is aimed at the training of around 8,000 people across the country. A pilot is also being done for using IoT for monitoring the performance of the oxygen plants, they said.
This is the Prime Minister's first such high-level Covid-19 meet after a reshuffle in his council of ministers earlier this week. The new Union health minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, took charge of his ministry on Thursday replacing Dr. Harsh Vardhan on the post, who resigned in the middle of the pandemic.