Indian oxygen to arrive this week | Sunday Observer

Indian oxygen to arrive this week

15 August, 2021

The Health Ministry will bring down 100 tons of medical oxygen from India this week to meet a demand predicted to shoot up due to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant in the country.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said the plan was to buy 100 tons of medical oxygen per week for six weeks.

“According to estimates, 50 percent of our population will be fully vaccinated in six weeks, giving them full protection against Covid-19,” she said, adding that health experts anticipate the situation to improve after six weeks. She was addressing the media at the Health Ministry yesterday.Sri Lanka’s inoculation drive which covers over 500,000 people a day, has been commended by the WHO.

“If the demand for oxygen continues, there will be more imports,” Health Secretary Maj. Gen. Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe said, adding that the first consignment will reach Sri Lanka this week in bulk form. The Health Ministry is exploring the possibility of buying oxygen from Singapore as a second option if things get worse in India.

The demand for oxygen in hospitals has increased from 25 tonnes to 72 tonnes a day. The daily demand increases by 5-10 tonnes due to the increasing numbers of oxygen-dependent Covid-19 patients, the Health Minister said. The parent company of Ceylon Oxygen Ltd. which is in India is the supplier of medical oxygen.

The consignment will arrive in jumbo cylinders and the plan is to refill the storage tanks in hospitals, most of which have 10-30 ton capacity. The Health Ministry is also exploring the possibility of using oxygen concentrators on patients. This equipment can filter oxygen from the environment and can be used on less severe patients. Of the 600 Covid-19 patients warded at the Colombo National Hospital, 200 need oxygen supplements, the Minister said.

State Minister Sisira Jayakody was also present.