In a tweet, Goyal said, “In order to provide relief to Covid-19 patients, Oxygen Express from Tatanagar has reached Bengaluru via Green corridor, with six containers of medical Oxygen.”…reports Asian Lite News.
Tragedy struck the renowned Ruia Hospital in Andhra Pradesh’s Tirupati on Monday as 11 Covid patients lost their lives due to an interruption in oxygen supply, Chittoor District Collector Harinarayan said.
The district authorities attributed the deaths to a five-minute delay in the arrival of an oxygen tanker at the hospital. However, with the oxygen supply restored immediately, a major tragedy was averted, the Collector said.
Around a thousand patients are undergoing treatment at the hospital. As the oxygen supply got affected all of a sudden, many patients began to choke. Doctors were seen attempting CPR procedures to revive the oxygen-starved patients, while kin of the patients used cardboard pieces to fan and revive them.
An inquiry has been initiated into the incident. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who was apprised of the tragedy, has asked for a report.
Meanwhile, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said that Oxygen Express with six containers of medical oxygen has arrived in the Karnataka capital from Jharkhand to provide relief.
In a tweet, Goyal said, “In order to provide relief to Covid-19 patients, Oxygen Express from Tatanagar has reached Bengaluru via Green corridor, with six containers of medical Oxygen.”
He also attached a video of the Oxygen Express entering the Bengaluru station with 120 MT of Oxygen.
Stalin also sought an allocation of 500 tons of medical oxygen to which Modi replied that the request will be processed…reports Asian Lite News.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for increasing the medical oxygen allocation to 500 tons.
Stalin and Modi had a telecon on Saturday, said a state government statement.
According to the statement, Stalin had sought the central government’s cooperation in the state government’s action to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Stalin also sought an allocation of 500 tons of medical oxygen to which Modi replied that the request will be processed.
The Prime Minister had told Stalin that more diagnostic tests, to check the infections, should be carried out, and not so severely infected persons should be advised for home quarantine. Stalin said: “The availability of oxygen in Tamil Nadu is very very critical and there was an unfortunate incident of 13 deaths at Chengalpattu 2 days ago. We request your kind intervention to get revised orders issued and provide full support to Tamil Nadu in this hour of crisis.”
Drawing the attention of Modi to the severe crisis with regard to the availability of medical oxygen in the state, he said the daily consumption of oxygen is expected to touch 840 MT in the next two weeks from the current consumption of 440 MT.
Stalin said at the emergency meeting held on Thursday by the officials of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) with Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala, it was decided to allocate, 40 MT from INOX, Kanjikode, Kerala for the next four days, 60 MT from Praxair, Sriperumbudur (Linde Saint Gobain) of which 20 MT to be provided after two days, and 120 MT from SAIL and Linde, Rourkela to meet medium-term needs.
“The revised allotment orders are still awaited,” he said.
Stalin assured Modi of his full support and cooperation in the latter’s efforts to tackle this unprecedented pandemic and save the nation.
The rationale for constituting a task force at a national level is to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge…reports Asian Lite News.
The Supreme Court on Saturday set up a 12-member National Task Force (NTF) to facilitate public health response to Covid-19, including streamlining of oxygen distribution in the country, based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge, .
A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah said: “A consensus has emerged that there is a need to ensure that the allotments of medical oxygen to the states and UTs are made on a scientific, rational and equitable basis. At the same time, it must allow for flexibility to meet unforeseen demands due to emergencies which may arise within the allocated territories.”
The top court said: “It is necessary that an effective and transparent mechanism is set up within the Union Government for the purpose of allocating medical oxygen to all states and UTs for being used during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Union Government has agreed to set up a National Task Force to streamline the process. This Task Force would be tasked inter alia with formulating a methodology for the scientific allocation of oxygen to the states and UTs.”
The SC bench said the establishment of this task force will enable the decision-makers to have inputs that go beyond finding ad-hoc solutions to the present problems.
“The likely future course of the pandemic must be taken into contemplation at the present time. This will ensure that projected future requirements can be scientifically mapped in the present and may be modulated in the light of experiences gained,” said the bench.
“The rationale for constituting a task force at a national level is to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge. We expect that the leading experts in the country shall associate with the work of the task force both as members and resource persons,” the top court noted in its order.
The bench added: “The Union Government has made its suggestions on the possible names for inclusion in the composition of the task force, while leaving its final composition to the court.
“The establishment of this task force will enable the decision makers to have inputs which go beyond finding ad-hoc solutions to the present problems. The likely future course of the pandemic must be taken into contemplation at the present time,” the top court added.
The Canadian armed forces will provide airlifting support to transport these supplies to India….reports Asian Lite News
Canada has announced that it is sending up to 25,000 vials of Remdesivir and up to 350 ventilators from its National Emergency Strategic Stockpile to help respond to the critical situation across India.
This support, announced on Wednesday, complements Canada’s work with its international partners to respond to the needs caused by the pandemic and to help save lives.
The Canada government is also providing support through UNICEF’s response to the pandemic in India with the urgent provisioning of 1,450 oxygen concentrators. The funds for these operations come partly from the $230 million contribution to the therapeutics pillar of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, announced in December 2020.
This support is in addition to Canada’s $10 million support to the Canadian Red Cross Society, which is supporting the Indian Red Cross Society’s procurement of essential supplies and medicines.
The supplies identified for this donation will not compromise the continued efforts of the Covid-19 response at home in Canada.
The Canadian armed forces will provide airlifting support to transport these supplies to India.
“Canada continues to stand in solidarity with the people of India. We must all unite in this hour of need and work together in the global fight against this virus that is devastating lives across the globe,” said an official statement quoting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marc Garneau.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is a global challenge and has reminded countries around the world that we are better off with each other’s help. That’s why the Canadian armed forces will support and transfer supplies to our friends in India to help defeat Covid-19. Throughout this pandemic and into the future, Canada will continue to be there for its allies in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Canada’s Indian-origin Minister of National Defence, Harjit S. Sajjan.
Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, added, “If there was ever a time for countries to support one another, it is right now. Canadians have always showed solidarity in times of crisis, and by sending these supplies, we will be helping the frontline workers carry out their life-saving work.”
The Canadian armed forces deployed a CC-150 Polaris aircraft from 8 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, on May 5 to deliver the vials of Remdesivir (brand name Veklury) and 50 ventilators that are ready for shipment to India.
Remdesivir is used in the treatment of patients with severe symptoms of Covid-19. Twenty-five thousand vials are equivalent to more than 4,000 courses of treatment.
He said India is looking at procuring 400,000 units of Remdesivir medicine from Egypt besides exploring to get it from countries like the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan…reports Asian Lite News.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday said India will get around 550 oxygen generating plants, 4,000 oxygen concentrators and 10,000 oxygen cylinders from abroad to deal with the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s an unprecedented situation. We are sourcing many of oxygen, drugs from many countries. Many countries have come forward on their own to offer us assistance. Countries said they appreciated our assistance and they’re giving us in return,” the Foreign Secretary said during a special media briefing.
The Foreign Secretary said over 40 countries have come forward to offer assistance to India to help in view of the unprecedented situation.
He said India is looking at procuring 400,000 units of Remdesivir medicine from Egypt besides exploring to get it from countries like the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
The Foreign Secretary said the government has been majorly focusing on procuring oxygen generators, concentrators, oxygen cylinders, cryogenic tankers as well as liquid oxygen.
He said the medical supplies are being sourced through direct procurement and other modes. He also said that the two special aircraft carrying large amounts of medical supplies from the US are expected to reach India by Friday and another one is likely in the next few days.
Bhutan would supply liquid oxygen to India from a new plant being set up at the Motanga Industrial Estate,said Indian Mission in Bhutan…reports Asian Lite News
Bhutan will supply 40 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen to Assam daily for Covid patients, an official release said on Tuesday.
A release from the Indian mission in Bhutan said that Bhutan would supply liquid oxygen to India from a new plant being set up at the Motanga Industrial Estate, Samdrup Jongkhar district by S.D. Cryogenics Gases Pvt. Ltd, a Bhutanese company.
“Every day, 40 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen produced by the oxygen plant would be exported to Assam using cryogenic tankers. The oxygen plant has domestic investment of 51 per cent by S.D. Cryogenics and FDI component of 49 per cent by Meghalaya Oxygen Pvt Ltd, an Assam-based Indian company.
“The provision of oxygen by Bhutan would augment India’s efforts to win the fight against Covid-19 and save precious lives, the release said adding that this is a practical manifestation of the uniquely close and friendly ties between India and Bhutan.
Meanwhile, Assam’s Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika accompanied by Rajya Sabha Member Biswajit Daimary on Sunday visited the under construction oxygen plant at Bhutan. “Once it is completed, Assam would get 50 MT oxygen per day which would be highly beneficial to combat Covid,” Hazarika said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Assam Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the state government has installed eight oxygen plants in five medical colleges and hospitals including Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, producing 5.23 metric tonnes of oxygen per day. Sarma told the media on Tuesday that five more oxygen units are in the process of being installed and two more units would become operational in the next three-four days.
“Unfortunately, CM Nitish Kumar did not implement any of our suggestions which we had pointed out during an all-party meeting held recently,said RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav…reports Asian Lite News
With the health infrastructure completely collapsing in Bihar, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav sharply attacked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said that 10 districts of Bihar do not have more than 5 ventilators each.
“The ill preparedness of Bihar government explains it all with 10 districts such that each of them do not have more than 5 ventilators. Moreover, ventilators are not operational in many district headquarters due to unavailability of operators,” Tejashwi said.
“When we call bureaucrats, they do not pick up the phone. Hence, I have suggested to the chief minister for dedicated toll free numbers for common people so that they would find available hospital beds, oxygen beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, beds in ICU of private and government hospitals besides life saving drugs in real time,” Tejashwi said.
“Unfortunately, CM Nitish Kumar did not implement any of our suggestions which we had pointed out during an all-party meeting held recently. As a result, the health mafias are active in black marketing of life saving drugs and oxygen cylinders. People are dying as life saving drugs and oxygen cylinders are beyond their reach. CM Nitish Kumar became a silent spectator “watching the deaths of common people like Dhritrashta. The Bihar government is busy managing the headlines,” Tejashwi said.
“The RJD supporters are providing oxygen cylinders to common people. But they have their limitations. After a certain limit, we are unable to get oxygen cylinders or life saving drugs,” Tejashwi said.
The US has directed commercial suppliers of Remdesivir who can immediately provide the Covid-19 medicine to India…reports Asian Lite News
The US has also identified commercial suppliers of Remdesivir who can immediately provide the Covid-19 medicine to India, reports Arul Louis
The US Defence Department is working on providing the direly-needed oxygen to India in the grip of a Covid-19 surge and Washington may be able to reroute shipments to India.
The US has also identified commercial suppliers of Remdesivir who can immediately provide the Covid-19 medicine to India, Joe Biden’s Spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a briefing.
“Department of Defense and USAID are pursuing options to provide oxygen generation systems (and) we may be in a position to reroute shipments meant for other countries with lower immediate needs, given the urgency of the conditions in India,” she said.
The Defence Department is also looking at sending field oxygen generation systems, which have been used in US field medical hospitals and can support 50 to 100 bed, and oxygen concentrators used to produce medical quality gas, Psaki said.
The announcement came after a conversation between Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at which, according to the White House, “the two leaders resolved that the United States and India will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the effort to protect our citizens and the health of our communities.”
Biden “pledged America’s steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases,” the White House said in a readout of their conversation.
Psaki said the US was “in close touch with Indian officials at all levels” and “as requested by India we will provide raw materials for the production of AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at Serum Institute of India. The US has also identified the rapid diagnostic testing supplies, personal protective equipment and ventilators available to be sent to India,” she said.
Asked if there were any moves to ban travellers coming in from India because of the surge there, Psaki said that while the US wanted to protect its people, at the moment there were no plans to restrict travel from India.
Approval for Covishiled
Responding to a question about the US making available its stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccines that are distributed in India under the Covishield label, Psaki said that none was immediately available because those on hand had to be cleared for safety by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
About 10 million doses can be released in the coming weeks if they clear the FDA safety review and meet the US standards, she said.
“And there is an estimated additional 50 million doses that are in various stages of production. These could be completed in stages across May and June, but our team, our national security team, or COVID team, working with the State Department others, we’re going to assess a range of requests a range of needs around the world,” she said.
‘Don’t expect political favours from India’
The US help to India to meet the Covid-19 surge is unconditional and does not expect political favours in return, State Department Spokesperson Ned Prince has declared.
“We have a Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with India. But the Secretary (of State Anthony Blinken) has been clear: This is not about shots in arms in return for political favours, in return for any sort of transactionalism. This is about America’s humanitarian leadership, the commitment that this administration has, to help those most in need,” Price said.
He said that as long as the virus is circulating “unfettered anywhere,” it is a threat to the American people.
“So we are doing what is in our national interest, but we’re also doing what’s in the collective interest. And it just so happens when it comes to global health, oftentimes what’s in our national interest is also in the collective interest, and that’s what we’re seeing here,” he added.
The US announced on Sunday that it was sending materials for making Covid-19 vaccines that India had requested and on Monday it said that would try to provide oxygen that is greatly needed as well as other products needed to fight the pandemic.
Supplies of AstraZeneca vaccine to India could take weeks
The US is “looking at options” to ship millions of AstraZeneca vaccines to India but that can happen only after it clears federal safety review, the White House said on Monday. This process could take a few “weeks”.
Approximately 10 million doses “could be released if and when FDA gets gives us concurrence, which could happen in the coming weeks”, a senior Biden administration official told reporters at a briefing.
As many as 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected to be available for export in the coming months. An estimated additional 50 million doses of this vaccine are in various stages of production in the US, the White House confirmed.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The decision has been taken in view of the excessive requirement of oxygen and related equipment in the country….reports Asian Lite News
The government has directed all major ports to waive off all charges levied by the port trusts and to give priority to oxygen and related consignments for berthing.
The decision has been taken in view of the excessive requirement of oxygen and related equipment in the country.
“The Government of India has directed all Major Ports, including the Kamarajar Port Limited, to waive-off all charges levied by Major Port Trusts (including vessel related charges, storage charges etc.),” said an official statement.
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has also asked the ports to accord highest priority in the berthing sequence to the vessels carrying consignments of medical grade oxygen, oxygen tanks, oxygen bottles, portable oxygen generators, oxygen concentrators, steel pipes for manufacturing oxygen cylinders and associated equipment for the next three months, or until further orders.
The ministry also asked port chairpersons to personally supervise logistic operations to ensure unhindered movement of such consignments for berthing of such vessel on top priority in the port, unloading of oxygen related cargo, coordination with Customs and other authorities for speedy clearance and documentation and expeditious evacuation of oxygen related cargo from port.
In case the vessel is carrying other cargo or containers in addition to oxygen related cargo, waiver of charges on pro-rata basis, considering the overall cargo or containers handled at port, should be provided for oxygen related cargo to such vessels.
The ministry will monitor the details of such vessels, cargo and time taken in the port from the time vessel entered in the port limits to exit of cargo from port gate.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday wrote to leading industrialists of the country, seeking their help in combating the second wave of Covid-19.
Kejriwal said that he would be grateful if the industrialists, involved in using or producing oxygen and can help with transporting oxygen in cryogenic tankers, come to Delhi’s assistance in its time of need.
He wrote that due to an unprecedented rise in the number of Covid cases in Delhi, it was falling woefully short of our oxygen requirements and asked for this request to be treated as an SOS.
Kejriwal wrote that Delhi did not produce any oxygen, and currently faces an acute shortage of oxygen.
He wrote that while the Central Government is helping Delhi in this regard, the intensity of the spread is so severe that the quantity is proving inadequate.
The first shipment of equipment has already left Britain and it will be arriving to India in the early hours of Tuesday, reports Asian Lite News
Britain will be sending more than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment to India to support it in the fight against Covid-19, the government announced.
The assistance package, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, includes ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks. The Department of Health and Social Care have worked closely with the NHS, as well as suppliers and manufacturers in Britain to identify reserve life-saving equipment that can be sent to India.
Recently, India has been reporting high number of Covid-19 cases and deaths while several reports of shortage of oxygen are also coming.
The first shipment of equipment has already left Britain and it will be arriving to India in the early hours of Tuesday. Further shipments are due to follow later this week.
In total, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to the country this week. This equipment will be crucial in helping to save the lives of the most vulnerable in India. The oxygen concentrators, for example, can extract oxygen from the air in the atmosphere so that it can be provided to patients, taking the strain off hospital oxygen systems and allowing oxygen to be provided in situations where hospital oxygen supplies have run out.
Britain is working closely with the Government of India to identify further assistance it can provide in the coming days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against Covid-19. Vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus. We will continue to work closely with the Indian government during this difficult time and I’m determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against the pandemic.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are supporting our Indian friends with vital medical equipment at a difficult time for them in this pandemic. We have all got to work together to tackle Covid-19. India is a very important partner to us, so we’re providing oxygen concentrators and ventilators to help save the lives of the most vulnerable. We will be following up on this first delivery with further support, based on our ongoing discussions with the Indian Government.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said: “The heart-breaking scenes in India show once again how awful this terrible disease is. We are determined to support the people of India through this very difficult time, and I am hugely grateful to those who have worked hard to make this initial delivery happen.”
“This first delivery of life-saving equipment will provide much-needed assistance and we stand ready to do more. The global pandemic has challenged health systems all across the world and the best way to overcome adversity is to unite and defeat this dreadful disease together,” he added.