The production of liquid medical oxygen, a key component in treatment of Covid patients, has gone up by ten times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today during his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat.
"In the normal course, we were producing 900 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen in a day. Today, the production has gone up to 9,500 metric tonnes a day -- an increase of almost 10 per cent," said the Prime Minister, underlining the government's efforts in fighting coronavirus.
Till a few weeks ago, there was a flood of SOSes from hospitals left with only a few hours' of medical oxygen. Social media had catalogued individual cases of oxygen demand from citizens across the country.
Emergency medical aid arrived from foreign donors even as the government directed states that all liquid oxygen, including stocks with private plants, be used for medical purposes only. Special Oxygen Express Trains were launched to meet the spike in demand.
"During second wave of COVID-19, a major challenge was to supply medical oxygen to remote areas. To counter challenges that the country faced, drivers of cryogenic oxygen tankers helped by working on a war footing and saved lives of lakhs of people," said the Prime Minister.
He also highlighted the efforts of the armed forces in making sure supplies reached the far corners.
"This fight (against COVID-19) is so big that like Railways, our country is working through all three routes, water, land, sky (Navy, Army and Air Force). The work of transporting empty tankers to oxygen plants by the Air Force planes is being done, while the work of making new oxygen plants is also being completed," said PM Modi.
Reminding listeners that today also marked the completion of seven years of BJP's rule at the centre, PM Modi reiterated the guiding philosophy of his government: "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vishwas"
In the beginning of the pandemic, there was only one testing lab in the country, he noted, contrasting it with the more than 2,500 labs working now.
"Initially, a few hundred tests could be done in a day, now more than 20 lakh Covid tests are being conducted in a day. Till now, more than 33 crore samples have been tested in the country," said PM Modi.
The country today recorded less than 2 lakh Covid cases for the third consecutive day with 1.65 lakh fresh infections, taking the overall case count to 2.78 crore. The positivity rate remained below 10 per cent for the sixth straight day.
Last evening, PM Modi announced that his government will provide support to children who have lost their parents to Covid. They have been assured of free education and help in seeking higher education loans.