The Centre on Friday urged the States and Union Territories to ensure that there is no restriction in the movement of oxygen supplies which is an essential commodity for a hospital for managing patients in serious conditions.
Noticing that some states are trying to curb the free inter-State movement of oxygen supplies, the Union Health Secretary, in a letter to States and Union Territories, emphasised that availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.
“It has come to the knowledge of the Union Health Ministry that few States are trying to curb the free inter-State movement of oxygen supplies by exercising provisions under various Acts and also mandating the manufacturers/suppliers located in the State to restrict their oxygen supplies to only the hospitals of the State,” the ministry said in a statement.
“In view of this, the Health Ministry has reiterated the critical importance of Oxygen in hospitals for management of critical COVID patients,” it added.
In the letter, the Health Secretary has urged the States and Union territories to ensure that no restriction is imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between them.
It is the responsibility to ensure that every hospitalized COVID patient receives oxygen, the health secretary said.
The health ministry said that medical oxygen constitutes an essential public health commodity and any impediment in the supplies of medical oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from COVID-19 disease in other parts of the country.
“Moreover, some of the major oxygen manufacturers/supplies already have existing supply agreements with hospitals in various states with a legal obligation to fulfil such agreements,” it said.
“For moderate and severe cases, adequate oxygen support, appropriate and timely administration of anti-coagulants and widely available and inexpensive corticosteroids, in accordance with the protocol, can be considered to be the mainstay of COVID-19 therapy,” it said.
The ministry said that an adequate supply of oxygen throughout the country has enabled effective clinical care of hospitalised moderate and severe cases, in conjunction with other measures.
The adopted host of strategies have actively resulted in the rising recovery rate and steadily declining case fatality rate (1.67 per cent currently), the ministry underlined.
It said as, on the date, less than 3.7 per cent of active patients are on oxygen support.