Practically impossible to provide oxygen to other states: Kerala CM
As virus Covid-19 cases continue to soar in the coastal state, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday sent a fresh letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying it will be practically impossible to provide medical oxygen to other states as its buffer stock has dipped to 86 metric tonne.
Addressing the media during a virtual meeting, Vijayan said going by the present surge the state’s active caseload is likely to cross 600,000 by the next week and the state will need at least 450 MT of medical oxygen. He said the state government was giving 40 MT of oxygen to Tamil Nadu daily as per the direction of central committee on oxygen pool.
Kerala on Monday reported as many as 27,487 new Covid-19 cases and 65 fatalities, taking the caseload to 19,00,060 and death toll to 5,879, the state said.
While the total number of active cases stands at 4,19,726, the positivity rate is at 27.56 per cent, showing signs of decline.
With 31,209 recovering from the disease in the last 24 hours, the total number of people recovered reached 15,04,160.
Ernakulam, which reported highest number of cases in the state in the last few days, added 2,834 new cases.
As many as 99,748 samples were tested and the test positivity rate (TPR) was 27.56 per cent.
“In view of rapidly rising cases it will be difficult for the state to meet demands of other states. So the state will be allowed to procure all 150 metric tonne produced at Kanjikode (Palakkad) plant,” he said.
The main oxygen producing unit ‘Inox’ is located in Kanjikode and it was partly catering to the needs of two neighbouring state Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
He also requested the Centre to send more cryogenic tankers. In normal situation daily need of the state is 80 MT and it is producing around 219 metric tonne from big and small units. But as cases surge experts have warned that demand will rise at least five times in a week.
Last week, the CM sent another letter to the PM requesting him to share imported oxygen concentrators and ventilators. The state has also started a vigorous drive to check oxygen wastage and technical teams will visit all generating and filling stations. In terms of daily caseload Kerala is on third spot after Maharashtra and Karnataka and it is under lockdown till May 16.
“There is no let up in situation. In 72 panchayats TPR is above 50 per cent and in 300 it is above 30%. Cases are surging in Kannur, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts. We have to strengthen lockdown to keep fatality down,” he said.
Despite high load of active cases mortality rate in the state is lowest .04 against the national average of 1.40. He said the health department will hire more doctors, nurses and paramedical staff to meet the exigency and called back retired workers. The jail department has released 560 prisoners on parole as per the directive of the Supreme Court to ease virus surge in jails.