Not saying this just as health minister..: Harsh Vardhan on oxygen shortage complaints
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday that there is no need to run here and there and panic for oxygen as the majority of the patients can be cured at home while being in touch with a doctor. "I am not saying this just as the health minister but also as a doctor," Dr Vardhan told ANI, adding that an adequate quantity of oxygen is available in the country and the supply is being ramped up.
The Union health minister’s statement comes as several states and Union territories (UTs) are reporting a severe shortage of oxygen supplies for treating critical Covid-19 patients.
"Right info regarding oxygen is also very crucial. There's no need to rush to hospitals as a result of panic reactions. Those who need oxygen should get it but it's not right if someone thinks he/she needs oxygen, due to a lack of knowledge," Dr Vardhan said.
The Centre announced on Wednesday it will be procuring 100,000 portable oxygen concentrators from the PM Cares Fund with a view to boosting its supply. The decision was taken at a review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he instructed these concentrators should be purchased at the earliest and delivered to states with a high number of cases.
As the Centre and the health minister have been refuting complaints of oxygen shortage, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram hit out at Vardhan and said he was appalled by the Union health minister’s statement that there is no shortage of oxygen or vaccines in the country. Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram asked whether all the newspapers were putting out incorrect stories about the shortage and all television channels were broadcasting fake visuals.
India has also received global support to address the shortage of oxygen. Countries, including the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Singapore, Canada, the European Union among many others, have pledged supplies of oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators and other essential materials required to fight the second wave of the pandemic in India.