The Modi govt’s fight against the deadly virus is on display as all major ministries have pitched in with their facilities to deal with the situation

The Ministry of Defence has already pressed into service Indian Air Forces’ transport aircraft and helicopters to airlift oxygen containers, cylinders, essential medicines, equipment required for setting up and sustaining COVID hospitals and facilities in the fight against fresh surge in COVID-19 cases.

While another wing of Indian armed forces, AFMS has decided to import oxygen generation plants and containers from Germany, amid shortage of oxygen in the hospitals during the second wave of Covid-19 across the country. Twenty-three mobile oxygen generation plants are being airlifted from Germany that will be deployed in AFMS hospitals catering to the COVID patients.

Each plant has a capacity to produce 40 litres of oxygen per minute and 2,400 litres an hour. At this rate, it can cater to 20-25 patients round the clock. The advantage of these plants is that they are easily portable. These oxygen generating plants are expected to arrive in India within a week.

In another important decision, the Ministry of Defence has given extension to Short Service Commissioned Doctors in AFMS till December 31, 2021 to tide over the current surge in medical services. This will augment the strength of AFMS by 238 more doctors.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Home Affairs has written to States and UTs to direct District Collectors or Deputy Commissioners to list all the plants situated in their district, in which different types of oxygen is generated, along with the installed capacity. They should also take action to revive those plants, which are lying closed. These efforts will ensure ready availability of oxygen at the district level, besides supply of medical oxygen from usual channels.

The MHA, as per its April 22 order, under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, has directed States and Union Territories (UTs) to take various measures to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country.

The MHA has written to all States and UTs to ensure compliance with this order and provide adequate security to oxygen transporting vehicles and to make provisions for exclusive corridors for such transportation, treating these vehicles like ambulances.

Earlier, the Central government has already prohibited supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those for few essential sectors

Since the demand of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug has also increased manifold in the country, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has ordered ramping up of its production from 40 lakh vials per month to 90 lakh per month. As per the Ministry, very soon Remdesivir’s production will be increased to 3 lakh vials per day.