Amid a surge in coronavirus cases and fatality rate in Punjab in the last three weeks, the state government has sought help from neighbouring states and local manufacturers as it struggles to plug the supply of liquid oxygen across hospitals.
The government has written to Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, seeking liquid oxygen amid fears of shortage by the end of September.
It has also asked key oxygen manufacturers in the state to prioritise supply to local hospitals. The move has come as the state is trying to tackle a steep demand in oxygen supply, crucial for severe COVID-19 patients, amid a worsening public health situation.
Punjab's coronavirus fatality rate is 2.96 per cent, the highest in the country.
"As you are aware, the demand for oxygen in the hospitals of Punjab has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic... Local vendors and suppliers of liquid oxygen have brought to notice that they are facing shortage of liquid oxygen and this problem is likely to expand in the coming days," Punjab Chief Secretary Alok Shekhar said in a letter to the neighbouring states.
"Most of the hospitals and manufacturers/re-filling units/suppliers in Punjab depend on Air Liquide India Pvt Ltd, Panipat, Haryana, for supply of liquid oxygen. Therefore, you are requested to kindly direct the concerned industrial unit to increase supply of liquid oxygen to the hospitals... so as to reduce the shortage of oxygen in hospitals of the state. A letter of confirmation would be highly appreciated," Mr Shekhar said in the letter.
Punjab on Sunday reported the highest single-day spike of 2,628 coronavirus cases, taking total cases in the state to 79,679.