With Himachal Pradesh’s stock of oxygen cylinders rapidly running out amid a surge in coronavirus cases, the state government asked the Centre to provide immediate relief on Thursday.
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, while reviewing the Covid situation in the state, said, “We have sufficient liquid oxygen. However, supply needs to be regulated. I have spoken to the Union health minister and have demanded 5,000 D type and 3,000 B type cylinders as we are experiencing a shortage in the state.”
The CM also called a meeting of BJP legislators to take suggestions on restrictions to be imposed for containing the spread of the virus.
In the wake of the sharp increase in Covid cases, the government has imposed a ban on community feasts (dham), which are traditionally organised during marriage celebrations. The number of people allowed to attend social gatherings has already been capped at 20.
It was decided during the review meeting that all educational institutes and temples in the state will remain closed till May 10. Government offices will continue to function for five days a week at 50% attendance of Class 3 and 4 employees till May 10.
Delay in test reports flagged
The availability of Covid beds in the worst affected districts — Kangra, Mandi, Shimla, Solan, Una and Sirmaur — was reviewed and the delay in receiving test reports flagged.
Nowadays, Covid reports results are being sent after 72 hours and at times it has taken up to five days. Shortage of man power at the laboratory was being cited as one of the primary reasons for the delay.
The government has constituted four committees to handle the Covid crisis — logistics committee headed by Arindam Chaudhary, managing director, HP State Electronic Development Corporation, which will also monitor availability of oxygen and plan for creation of additional bed capacity; Covid patients and ambulance management committee headed by Dr Rajesh Thakur, system security officer, National Health Mission (NHM) will ensure creation of triage space at all facilities, and facilitate inter-district movement of patients; corporate social responsibility coordination and contribution committee headed by Abid Hussain, director urban development will move corporate and corporate social responsibility (CSR) contributions to HP SDMA Covid-19 Fund and coordinate with all prospective donors and industrial associations.
The media committee headed by Dr Nipun Jindal, managing director, NHM will disseminate up to-date data and to the media besides eliminating any information gap.