Indian PM assures full support to states with high COVID-19 infections, gov't addresses oxygen supply issue
Published: Apr 23, 2021 09:07 PM
India's daily new COVID-19 cases reach record high Photo:VCG

India's daily new COVID-19 cases reach record high Photo:VCG

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday chaired a high-level meeting on COVID-19 situation with chief ministers of 10 states that have reported maximum numbers of cases, officials said.

Modi assured the government's full support to all the states in the fight against COVID-19.

Chief ministers of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu attended the virtual meet.

These states account for nearly 75 percent of the total new cases reported daily.

"Noting that the virus is affecting several states as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities at once, PM Modi called for working together to fight the pandemic with collective power," a statement issued by Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.

On the shortage of oxygen, Modi said there was a continuous effort to increase the supply in the states.

Officials on Friday morning said at least 25 critical patients admitted at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi had died in the last 24 hours, where authorities had flagged the shortage of oxygen and said the patients were reportedly on high-flow oxygen.

"PM Modi urged all states to work together and coordinate with one another to fulfill requirements relating to medicines and oxygen. He urged the states to check hoarding and black marketing of oxygen and medicines," the statement said.

"The PM said that every state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, whether it is meant for any state, is stopped or gets stranded."

Modi said the government was working on all possible options to reduce the travel time and turnaround time of oxygen tankers.

"For this, railways has started oxygen express. Empty oxygen tankers are also being transported by the Air Force to reduce one-way travel time," the PMO said.

Modi noted that the ongoing vaccination program should not slow down in this situation.

During the meeting, he reiterated the need to scale up testing and creation of micro-containment zones for better management of the pandemic.

Home minister Amit Shah, health minister Harsh Vardhan, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal were also present at the meeting.

India is presently witnessing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. It on Friday reported the world's biggest-ever daily surge with 332,730 new cases and 2,263 deaths in the past 24 hours.