Omicron threat: Kejriwal says 30,000 oxygen beds, PSA plants ready, storage capacity ramped up

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By PTI

NEW DELHI: Amid concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday said his government is fully prepared to tackle any situation and has arranged 30,000 oxygen beds already and ramped up oxygen production and storage facilities.

The chief minister chaired a high-level meeting with the authorities concerned to review the city’s readiness to fight the pandemic. At the meeting, he shared the city’s vaccination figures, saying 97 per cent of Delhiites have received their first dose, and 57 per cent are fully vaccinated.

“These are good numbers,” he said, urging people to get their second dose soon. “Delhi is prepared to deal with any possible threat of another wave.” The review meeting mainly focused on the current situation of Covid, testing and prevention measures, upgradation and increasing Covid beds, training of people for Covid management, procurement of medicines, home isolation the 1031 helpline, oxygen supply, and vaccination numbers.

“As far as beds are concerned, the bed capacity in hospitals had been increased to 25,106 during the second wave of Corona in May this year,” he said, “We have now arranged 30,000 oxygen beds already, out of which around 10,000 are ICU beds.

Additionally, 6,800 ICU beds are currently under construction, and will be ready by February next year which will bring the capacity of ICU beds to around 17,000 soon,” he told an online media briefing.

The chief minister said the preparations have been planned in a way that the government will be able to arrange 100 oxygen beds in every municipal ward on a two-week notice.

“Hence, for the 270 wards, 27,000 oxygen beds can further be arranged on a short notice,” he said, adding that it takes the total number of beds to 63,800.

Kejriwal said there are 32 kinds of medicines which are required to treat Covid patients and a two-month buffer stock of these medicines is being ordered by his government to avoid any scarcity.

“Home-isolation arrangements are also being actively made so that in the off chance that a third wave of coronavirus does hit, or that the Omicron variant spreads in India, we are well prepared to protect ourselves from it,” he added.

Recalling the oxygen crisis during the second wave, he said the supply and shortage of the life-saving gas was a major issue then which his government has tried to address.

It is estimated that all the hospitals in Delhi have a combined oxygen capacity of 750 MT, he said.

To deal with storage and distribution problem of oxygen, the government has constructed extra storage facilities of 442 MT, he said.

“Delhi has also constructed PSA plants to produce oxygen within the state and not rely on supply from outside with 121 MT oxygen beginning to be produced within Delhi,” the chief minister said.

“We have ensured that telemetry equipment is installed in each small or large oxygen storage facility.

With the installation of such devices, data will be shared in real time on the dashboard in our war rooms and help us monitor oxygen levels in each tank.

This will aid us to have a fully prepared oxygen supply chain and efficient management of the same,” he said.

The government has imported 6,000 D-type empty cylinders from China to supply beds with oxygen which will enable the government to arrange oxygen beds in non-hospital areas easily, he said.

“We currently have three private oxygen refilling plants which have a capacity of filling 1,500 cylinders a day. In addition to this, we have built two bottling plants as well with an approximate capacity of 1,400 cylinders as well. Hence, Delhi’s refilling capacity has increased to 2,900 cylinders per day,” he said.

Another major issue Delhi faced last time was in the supply of oxygen being brought in from Panipat, he said, adding the government is now buying 15 oxygen tankers, which will arrive within a month.

In April and May, Delhi battled a brutal second wave of the pandemic that claimed a large number of lives and led to a shortage of oxygen and essential drugs at hospitals.

On April 20, Delhi had reported 28,395 cases, the highest in the city since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

On April 22, the case positivity rate was 36.2 per cent, the highest so far. The highest number of 448 deaths was reported on May 3.



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