Maha may divert all oxygen supply for medical use: Thackeray

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Mumbai, Apr 3 (PTI) With Maharashtra recording over half of the daily coronavirus cases in India, the state government is considering diverting all industrial use oxygen supply for medical use, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Saturday.

In an online interaction with newspaper owners, editors and distributors, Thackeray said a decision on imposing stringent measures to tackle the pandemic will be taken soon but did not confirm if there will be a statewide lockdown.

Maharashtra on Friday reported 47827 new cases, the highest daily rise in around six-and-a-half-months, and a big chunk of the 89,129 new cases in a day recorded in India.

With the demand for oxygen surging, the state public health department had last month directed oxygen manufacturers to divert 80 per cent of their stocks for medical use and retain the rest 20 per cent for industrial purposes.

Thackeray said the state government is considering diverting even that 20 per cent for medical use, because of the surge in cases and the 'alarming' situation in the state.

The daily demand for oxygen in Maharashtra has touched 700 metric tonnes against the state's production capacity of over 1200 metric tonnes, an official said.

A notification stating 80 per cent of capping for medical use was issued on Tuesday. It said that the rule would apply to all of Maharashtra and stay in force till June 30.

Thackeray said the state government is increasing testing and also not keeping 'even a single positive' case under wraps. PTI VT VT VT