With Omicron Cases Rising States told to Stay Prepared to tackle Emergency

New Delhi: With the new omicron coronavirus mutant speeding across the nation, states and the Union Territories have been asked to review and monitor the status of oxygen concentrators, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) plants and Medical Gas Pipeline Systems (MGPS) on a daily basis to ensure that the gap between the equipment and systems delivered to the districts and installed at the healthcare facilities is reduced to zero.Also Read – Maharashtra Could Witness Surge in Omicron Cases Next Month, Warns Health Official

The Centre has asked the state nodal officers to streamline coordination with Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), HLL Infra Tech Services Limited (HITES) and Central Medical Services Society (CMSS) for resolution of electricity-related and site-related issues for ensuring quick operationalization of the entire medical oxygen supply infrastructure. Also Read – Amid Rising Omicron Cases, Fresh Restrictions Imposed in Maharashtra Till Dec 31 | Full List of Curbs Here

In a virtual meeting with states and UTs on Wednesday to review their preparedness regarding Medical Oxygen devices and systems, LMO Plants, Oxygen Concentrators, and others, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan underlined that medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and its uninterrupted supply in sufficient quantity is of critical importance to tackle the pandemic. Also Read – Delhi Reports 4 More Omicron Cases, Total Tally Rises to 10

It was also pointed out to the states that ECRP-II funds have been sanctioned for installation of 958 LMO Storage Tanks and medical gas pipeline systems in 1,374 hospitals. States were advised to utilize this opportunity to enhance domestic oxygen production capacity and ensure the completion, installation and commissioning of medical gas pipelines in government hospitals expeditiously.

The states have been asked to schedule and conduct mock drills of all installed and commissioned PSA Plants to ensure functionality so that the oxygen with the required quantity, pressure and purity reaches the intended patients at their bedside. These drills are to be completed by the end of December 2021. The states were also requested to complete the pending Oxygen Audit reports and submit this through the designated portal by the end of December 2021.

The Health Ministry is conducting training programmes to build and enhance capacities of technicians and clinicians for operation and maintenance of the PSA plants and other medical oxygen-related infrastructure. As on date, a total of 3,236 PSA plants have been installed in the country from various sources with a total commissioned oxygen capacity of 3,783 MT. Moreover, 1,14,000 Oxygen Concentrators are being provided to states under PM CARES and ECRP-II, said the ministry in a statement.

Bihar govt asks officials to stay prepared amid Omicron threat

 The Bihar government has directed DMs, SPs and civil surgeons to take extreme precautions in their respective districts. The direction was issued on Wednesday evening during a crisis management group meeting convened for analysing the rising cases of Corona in the state. According to an official of crisis management cell, “Though, the state government is not looking for partial lockdown but it is working on a backup plan. The authorities have been directed to aware people to wear masks and avoid crowded places. People seen without masks would be fined.”

On Wednesday, the authorities collected around Rs 2,40,000 through fines. It has further directed cinema halls, restaurants, gyms, clubs, swimming pools to operate with 50 per cent occupancy. However, industries, schools, colleges, malls, business centres, private offices, religious places, and others have been exempted.

“The guidelines will remain in force till January 5, 2022, and can be changed depending on the situation,” .

As the health department has no facility for genome sequencing in the state, the reports related to Omicron get delayed due to dependency on other states, he said. Currently, the samples of Corona-positive patients are sent to Delhi for testing of genome sequencing and the results are received in a month.

Due to this, the threat of Omicron is increasing in the state as the majority of the COVID-positive patients are under home isolations. “We have set up isolation centers in every city. In Patna, it has been established in Patliputra sports Complex having capacity of 110 beds and adequate arrangements of oxygen as well,” the official stated.

(With Agency Inputs)

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