Worry on the short supply of medical oxygen and hospital beds loom as COVID-19 cases are surging in Madhya Pradesh. On Thursday, the tally crossed 80,000 mark to end up at 81,379 in the state—an addition of 11,135 cases in five days. The death toll is at 1,661 now, of which 148 deaths have been reported in the past five days.
Thursday also saw the single day spike in the cases cross the 2,000 mark for the first time in Madhya Pradesh. In the past 24 hours, 2,187 cases and 21 deaths were reported.
The reports of short supply of medical oxygen in the state and the reported embargo on supply from Maharashtra has added to the worries of the situation, though Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who spoke to Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray on the issue, assuring that there will be no shortage of oxygen.
The ex-chief minister Kamal Nath expressed concern over the reports of short supply of oxygen and hospital beds as well as negligence in treatment resulting in deaths. In a series of tweets, the ex-CM urged the Maharashtra CM to intervene to restore supply of oxygen to MP.
The chief minister said, “Supply of oxygen will be ensured under all conditions as per the requirement of Covid-19 patients. Apart from increasing the capacity of existing plants in the state, efforts are on to coordinate with other states.”
Reviewing the situation of pandemic in a meeting held at his residence, Chouhan said that the number of Corona patients is increasing in the state but smooth functioning of the systems is necessary in every situation. By the end of September, 150 tonnes of oxygen will be available. Action has also started for establishing a new oxygen plant in the state.
During the meeting, the chief minister said that he had a telephonic Maharashtra CM Thackeray who said that the problem of oxygen exists in Maharashtra also but he will make every effort to continue to supply oxygen to MP. He also urged Chouhan to make adequate oxygen supply a matter of priority and work on alternatives in this direction.
Maharashtra supplies 20 tonnes of oxygen to the state. The supplier company (Inox) has assured that it will supply oxygen to Madhya Pradesh from its plants in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh if required. Chouhan said that currently MP has capacity to supply 50 tonnes of oxygen and it is being enhanced to 120 tonnes. By September 30 this capacity will be increased to 150 tonnes.
The chief minister also cautioned against misuse of medical oxygen and said that it should be used for only needy patients. Proper training to personnel and monitoring should be ensured to prevent wastage and misuse. A new oxygen plant is also being built at Mohasa Bavai in Hoshangabad with capacity to produce 200 tonnes of oxygen.
Former chief minister Kamal Nath has however said that talking of enhanced capacity by September 30 or six months won’t work as the requirement is immediate. He also attracted the attention of the government towards complaints of unavailability of beds and negligence in treatment and called for stringent and quick action in the matter.
He said that availability of enough beds and treatment for non-COVID patients should be ensured to check the rising graph of deaths.
Covid patients are on the rise, caution must
Chief Minister Chouhan said during the review meeting that it is a stark reality that COVID-19 patients are increasing in the state. But in every situation, the state government is committed to ensure that the proper arrangements are made. He also conceded that there was a need to increase hospital beds and mentioned that the state government is working in this direction. Arrangements are being made for effective treatment of coronavirus in private hospitals.
“The economy cannot be locked again. Economic activities cannot be halted. Caution is very important in this situation. He appealed to the people of the state to use masks in every situation. He reiterated that use of masks and physical distancing are the most effective ways of prevention of the pandemic.