PM Modi chairs top-level meet on coronavirus, oxygen availability
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting to review the coronavirus situation and medical oxygen availability in India even as experts warn of a potential third wave of the pandemic. Lack of oxygen supply had led to hundreds of deaths during the country's devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections earlier this year. Here are more details on this.
1,500 PSA oxygen plants being installed across India
Officials at the meeting told PM Modi that more than 1,500 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants are being installed across the country. These plants will be built using contributions from the PM-CARES fund, various Ministries, and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). Once all the oxygen plants are functional, they would be capable of supporting more than four lakh hospital beds, the PM was told.
Ensure functionality of plants at the earliest, PM said
Officials added the oxygen plants will be set up in all the states and districts of India. PM Modi, meanwhile, directed officials to make sure the plants are made functional at the earliest. He said that central government officials should work closely with state administrations over the matter and ensure proper training of hospital staff on the operation and maintenance of the oxygen plants.
8,000 people across India will be trained: Officials
Officials reportedly briefed the PM that they are looking to train around 8,000 people across India. A pilot is also being carried out for using advanced technologies such as Internet of Things to monitor the performance of the oxygen plants, they said.
First COVID-19 meeting after Union Cabinet expansion
This was the first high-level meet on COVID-19 after a major reshuffle in PM Modi's Union Cabinet earlier this week. Mansukh Mandaviya has taken charge as the country's new Health Minister, replacing Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who was widely criticized for his handling of the pandemic. The Cabinet also recently approved a Rs. 23,123 crore COVID-19 emergency response package.
Experts say third wave could hit India soon
India had suffered from an acute shortage of oxygen amid the devastating second wave of COVID-19 earlier this year. Relatives of patients ran from pillar to post to secure oxygen cylinders and other basic medical needs while many died due to the lack of oxygen. Even though the situation has since improved, experts warn that a third wave of COVID-19 could hit India soon.