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Covid: Kerala to set up oxygen auditing panels in hospitals

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 28, 2021

To expand oxygen buffer stock in order to be ready for any emergency

Kerala, which is claimed to be the only oxygen-surplus State, has decided to appoint oxygen audit committees in all hospitals at State- and district levels to ensure optimum use of the available stock estimated to be 220 mt domestically, while the demand in the context of Covid is 100 mt.

Various oxygen production plants combined are estimated to have a buffer stock of 510 mt, which is now sought to be expanded to 1,000 mt in order that the State is ready for any future eventuality arising from the phenomenal jump in active cases by more than 30,000 for the first time on Tuesday.

Surplus oxygen is no consolation for Kerala

Review meeting held

A review meeting of officials convened by the State Health Minister late on Tuesday decided to take adequate measures to make available adequate stock of oxygen in the State. This was in continuation of the meeting of district-level officials addressed by the Principal Secretary, Health, on Monday.

The state-level meeting reviewed the current position, including the daily production of oxygen in the State, distribution, consumption and potential demand in the wake of the rising number of daily new cases and the State’s capacity and level of preparedness to meet with any unforeseen circumstance.

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Potential rise in demand

The meeting also discussed likely excess demand as the State government sets up more Covid Firstline Treatment Centres and other treatment facilities and the potential rise in demand corresponding with the rise in the number of active cases, and explored the scope of setting up back-up capacity at short notice.

Liquid oxygen tanks are available at many hospitals, but proper authorisation was not available at a few centres, the meeting felt. Officials have been directed to take this up with PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation) and thrash out issues to ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen.

Seizure of bulk cylinders

The meeting also decided to effect seizure, under the supervision of the District Collectors, of bulk oxygen, nitrogen and argon cylinders used for moving stock to the industrial units and convert them into medical oxygen cylinders through recourse to the air separation technology.

Bulk tankers carrying liquid oxygen will now be accorded the same status as medial ambulances while plying on roads, and traffic will be regulated for making way. District Collectors will confer with the police authorities to implement in the State the guidelines issued by the Centre in this regard.

Published on April 28, 2021

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