(Eds: correcting typo in intro) Mumbai, Apr 23 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday demanded additional medical oxygen for the state, adequate supply of vaccines, and permission to import Remdesivir to tackle the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Speaking at a virtual meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he also demanded that oxygen be airlifted if possible, an official release said here.
Maharashtra requires 1,550 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to treat coronavirus patients every day and about 300 to 350 metric tons is being procured from outside, he said.
Instead of distant states, if the supply could be arranged from neighbouring states, it would be available early, he said, according to the release.
Empty oxygen tankers should be flown back to refilling plants to save on transportation time if it was not possible to airlift oxygen, Thackeray said. State health minister Rajesh Tope told reporters later that the demand of flying back empty tankers was accepted.
More than 60,000 patients in the state are on oxygen while there are 76,300 oxygen beds and over 25,000 additional oxygen beds were being arranged, the CM informed.
Considering its requirement, Maharashtra should get 250 to 300 metric tons of additional oxygen, Thackeray said.
Speaking on Remdesivir shortages, he said, '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.
Maharashtra needs 70,000vials of Remdesivir every day but is getting only27,000, and it should be allowed to import the medicine, he said.
Maharashtra has about 5 lakh doses of vaccine in stock as of now, he informed.
'Maharashtra has 5.71 crore people in the 18 to44 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 should provide 13,000 jumbo oxygen cylinders and 1,100 ventilators to Maharashtra, he said.
Modi had said lockdown should be a last resort, but unfortunately Maharashtra had to impose strict restrictions, the chief minister said.
'We are ensuring that the economic cycle is not hampered while the state is in the strict lockdown,' he added.
He expressed confidence that Maharashtra will succeed in containing the pandemic.
Services of retired doctors, nurses and medical students are being enlisted to tackle the pandemic and facilities such as tele-medicine and 'tele-ICU' are being used to ensure that patients get treatment immediately, he said.
He also stressed the need for study of the `double mutation' in the virus which has been found in the country to formulate the right approach to deal with the current surge in infections. PTI MR KRK KRK KRK