Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday demanded medical oxygen, adequate supply of vaccines, permission to import Remdesivir in a virtual meeting hosted by the Prime Minister to battle the rise of coronavirus cases in the state.
The state requires 1,550 metric tonnes of medical oxygen every day to treat infected patients, of which about 300-350 metric tonnes are being procured from outside, Thackeray said. He further requested that oxygen be airlifted if possible. If the supply is arranged from neighbouring states instead of distant ones, it would also be available early, he suggested.
The demand that empty tankers be flown back to refilling plants to save time if not possible to airlift medical oxygen was accepted, State health minister Rajesh Tope confirmed.
Maharashtra is currently witnessing an upsurge in cases and has over 60,000 patients on oxygen support, 76,300 oxygen beds and over 25,000 additional oxygen beds are being arranged, Thackeray informed. Considering the present situation, the state must receive about 250-300 metric tonnes of additional oxygen.
"It is not known how effective Remdesivir is, but it surely reduces the period of hospitalisation. The state should get Remdesivir supply based on the number of patients it has," he said about Remdesivir shortage in the state. He further demanded that the state be allowed to import the medicine considering how it is getting only 27,000 though it needs around 70,000 a day.
"Maharashtra has 5.71 crore people in the 18 to 44 age group. We will require 12 crore doses. Our vaccine manufacturers will not be able to produce the required doses in a short time. The corporate sector should also be given permission to purchase vaccines under their Corporate Social Responsibility obligation," he said.
The Centre must provide 13,000 jumbo oxygen cylinders and 1,100 ventilators to the state, he added. However, the state has about 5 lakh vaccine doses in stock.
"We are ensuring that the economic cycle is not hampered while the state is in the strict lockdown," he added.