Goa health minister thanked Kerala health minister KK Shailaja for helping out with oxygen supply. (ANI Photo)
Goa health minister thanked Kerala health minister KK Shailaja for helping out with oxygen supply. (ANI Photo)

Kerala is severely hit by Covid-19 yet helps Goa with 20,000 litres of oxygen

The gesture comes at a time when shortage of oxygen has become a major concern with the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, asking for ramping up its production to meet the rising demand in hospitals among the worst Covid-19 hit states including Kerala.
By Gerard de Souza
PUBLISHED ON APR 19, 2021 08:21 AM IST

Kerala extended a helping hand to Goa with 20,000 litres of liquid oxygen amid its widespread shortage due to a rapid rise of Covid-19 patients across several states. Goa health minister profusely thanked his Kerala counterpart for the gesture on Sunday, when both the states registered the highest number of new Covid-19 infections and deaths.

“I extend my gratitude to Smt. @shailajateacher Madam, Hon Health Minister of Kerala for helping us with movement of 20,000 litres of liquid oxygen for COVID patients in the state of Goa,” Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane tweeted, thanking Kerala health minister K K Shailaja, who is popularly known as Shailaja Teacher.

Goa recorded 951 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, the highest since the pandemic outbreak, taking the active cases in the state to 7,052. It also recorded the highest single-day death toll with 11 Covid-19 patients succumbing, taking the cumulative death toll to 883, according to the daily Covid bulletin. Rane was grateful to the Kerala minister for the timely help.

“The people of Goa are really grateful for your contribution to our fight against #COVID19,” Rane said.

The gesture comes at a time when shortage of oxygen has become a major concern with the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, asking for ramping up its production to meet the rising demand in hospitals among the worst-hit states including Kerala. The southernmost state of the country recorded the highest single-day surge on Sunday with 18,257 new Covid-19 cases and a test positivity rate (TPR) of 16.77%, according to the state health ministry. Kerala’s gesture to help out Goa is also noteworthy since several states including Goa have banned supply of oxygen to other states and diverted all oxygen manufactured internally for medical purposes within the state.

“Supply of oxygen cylinders outside the state has been banned with immediate effect. All industrial oxygen requirements will be diverted towards the health services, GMC (Goa Medical College) & Covid hospitals. Necessary directions have been issued to secretary health to coordinate with the respective collectors to issue an order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 in public interest and to save people’s lives,” Rane said on Friday.

Rane also said the demand for oxygen had risen manifold and he had reached out to manufacturers within the state to help meet the demand.

“With the increasing number of admissions at South Goa District Hospital (SGDH), oxygen consumption has also increased. Therefore, there is an urgent need for increased manufacturing of oxygen cylinders in the state of Goa. In view of the same, the government has requisitioned Oxynitro plant in Verna, Madgaon and Cuncolim which will help us in the seamless supply of oxygen to COVID Hospitals,” Rane said.

Earlier Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant had claimed there was “sufficient availability of medical oxygen” and stated that the state infrastructure was “equipped to handle the demands” due to rising Covid 19 cases.

The State government has also decided to add 500- beds for treatment of Covid patients at various facilities in the state.

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