Active Covid-19 cases in India cross 25 lakh after another record surge; all hands on deck as defence, railways, industry pitch in to provide oxygen, other medical supplies; Centre asks states to set up more private centres before Covid-19 vaccination Phase 3 begins; J&K and many other states/UTs announce free vaccine for all above 18 years.
Following a record spike in coronavirus cases, several states are facing an acute shortage of oxygen. (File Photo)
PM Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on Saturday on measures to increase oxygen supply and oxygen-related equipment. After the meeting, the Government of India said in a statement that the basic customs duty, health cess on oxygen and oxygen-related equipment wil be waived. The Government statement also said that the basic customs duty on import of COVID vaccines is to be exempted with immediate effect for three months. Centre has taken a lot of measures in last few days to improve medical and oxygen supply, the statement further added.
India recorded over 3 lakh Covid-19 cases for the third consecutive day. According to the data released by the Union Health Ministry, 3,46,786 new cases and 2,624 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. With this, the total Covid tally of India has reached 1,66,10481. The country has so far reported 1,89,544 deaths.
Following a record spike in coronavirus cases in the past few days, several states are facing an acute shortage of oxygen. Many hospitals were sending SOS as they were struggling with dangerously low levels of oxygen supply, following which the railways decided to run ‘Oxygen Express’ trains to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country. A train with three tankers of liquid medical oxygen reached Uttar Pradesh this morning.
“Two trucks of medical oxygen arrived in Lucknow around 6.30 am while one truck was offloaded in Varanasi. Each truck has a capacity of containing 15,000 litres of medical oxygen,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers of the country. He also held a meeting with chief ministers of high-burden states. Chief ministers of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Kerala, were among those who attended the meeting.
Follow our live blog for all coronavirus-related news.