Vijayawada: The number of COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen support in Andhra Pradesh has almost doubled during the second wave of the pandemic compared to the first wave last year.

In September 2020, during the peak of the first wave, there were about 1.1 lakh active cases in Andhra Pradesh and of these only 1,600 patients required ICU care and 7,000 patients were on oxygen support. In the second wave, the state has 1.3 lakh active cases and over 3,750 patients are in ICU and 13,500 on oxygen support.

The peak medical oxygen demand during the first wave was only 260 metric tonnes and that too for a few days. During the second wave, Andhra Pradesh is already utilizing over 430 metric tonnes of oxygen a day.

The medical and health department officials said logistics is the biggest bottleneck in the transportation of oxygen as there are a limited number of cryogenic oxygen tankers in the state.

At a time when various states are facing a shortage of oxygen amid a surge in COVID- 19 cases, Odisha has dispatched a total of 153 tankers containing 2879.08 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to at least eight states. The tankers were escorted by the Odisha police to different states from Rourkela, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, and Angul districts.

The official said that Odisha has sent 1035.36 MT of oxygen to Andhra Pradesh, followed by Telangana (702.43 MT), Madhya Pradesh (318.35 MT), Haryana (297.66 MT), Uttar Pradesh (238.43 MT), Chhattisgarh (121.32 MT), Maharashtra (112.06 MT), and Tamil Nadu (53.46 MT).

Andhra Pradesh government is taking steps to airlift 120 MT of oxygen from Angul in Odisha.

Meanwhile, state health minister Alla Nani has made it clear that there is no dearth of Remdesivir injections in government hospitals in the state and added that the government is ready to supply the injections to private hospitals based on indents provided by the doctors. He informed that there are 420 COVID-19 hospitals in the state and 5,601 ICU beds as well as 18,992 oxygen beds. He added that 3,120 ventilators are available in the state. On Saturday, he conducted a review meeting in Kakinada in East Godavari district with people's representatives and district authorities to discuss steps to control the spread of COVID-19 and expedite vaccination.

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