No shortage of ventilators, oxygen: TN govt tells HC

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Chennai, April 22 (PTI) The Madras High Court was on Thursday informed by the Tamil Nadu government that the state had sufficient stocks of oxygen and Remdesivir vaccines and that the 'assigment' of life-saving gas to neighbouring states will not affect its position.

There was no shortage of Remdesivir vaccine, used in COVID-19 treatment, ventilators or oxygen cylinders in the state, Advocate General Vijay Narayan told the first bench of the Madras High Court, which took up the matter on its own.

The AG was responding to a query from the bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, which took note of newspaper reports of shortage of Remdesivir and ventilators and that oxygen was being diverted to other states.

The AG told the judges that about 31,000 doses of Remdesivir vaccine were available in government hospitals.

The private hospitals may face shortage. If they ask, the same would be supplied to them at concessional rates, he said.

As many as 550 MTs of oxygen was being produced in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry per day and there were 1,167 MTs of it available against the demand of 250 MTs.

The assignment of oxygen to Andhra and Telangana would not affect the comfortable position of manufacture and supply of the material in Tamil Nadu, he added.

As regards ventilators, the AG said 9,600 machines were available with the government. Of them, 5,887 were allotted to the state-run hospitals.

The private hospitals were in possession of about 6,000 ventilators and of them only 3,000 were being put to use, he pointed out.

Even though there were a total of 84,621 coronavirus patients, all of them do not require ventilators or oxygen, he said adding that there was no shortage of beds, oxygen or ventilators.

He also pointed to the bench that similar cases have been filed in six other High Courts in the country and arrangements are underway to transfer them all to the Supreme Court.

Satisfied, the bench replied that there was nothing wrong in diverting additional/excess oxygen cylinders to the needy in other states.

It, however, advised the state government to be more vigilant and enforce the Covid-19 protocols vigorously on May 2, when the counting of votes, polled in the April 6 Assembly elections, would take place and subsequent festivities like Ramzan. PTI CORR SA ROH ROH