The Government is planning to import liquid oxygen as part of its future strategy as winter season may increase COVID-19 cases leading to high demand of oxygen in different hospitals across the country.
The Union Health Ministry has already initiated the process. HLL Lifecare Limited, a public sector undertaking, has floated a global tender on behalf of the Health Ministry for procuring one lakh metric tonne of liquid oxygen, a PTI report said. The oxygen is being procured for various central and state government hospitals.
The entire exercise of importing and then distributing the medical oxygen is estimated to cost Rs 600-700 crore, official sources ware quoted saying by the report. As on Tuesday, around 3.97 per cent of the COVID-19 patients were on oxygen support, 2.46 per cent were in ICU beds which are again with oxygen support and 0.40 pc on ventilator support.
In March, before the country went into a lockdown, the country had a manufacturing capacity of around 6,400 metric tonne of oxygen per day, of which around 1,000 metric tonne was being used for medical purposes daily while the rest was utilised by industries, sources said.
“Industries have opened up following unlock procedures and as on September 30, the country”s daily capacity of oxygen production is around 7,000 metric tonne, of which around 3,094 metric tonne is being used for both COVID and non-COVID patients and is just enough to meet the demands,” a source said.
“So this one lakh metric tonne of liquid oxygen which is being planned to be procured from foreign countries would create a one month buffer in case demand rises further during the winter season,” the source explained.
The issue was discussed at a meeting held by the Cabinet Secretary on October 10, following which it was decided to import liquid oxygen. India”s COVID-19 caseload rose to 72,39,389 on Wednesday, while the death toll due to the disease was 1,10,586.