COVID-19: Expecting 3rd wave, Telangana govt readies oxygen plants

Hyderabad: Expecting the third COVID-19 wave to hit the state in September, Telangana’s Public Health and Family Welfare department is sitting prepared with newly commissioned oxygen plants. As many as 78 plants have been sanctioned, out of which close to 30 are ready, said officials. They added that the remaining plants will be ready by September 10 latest, and are confident that a second wave like situation will be avoided this time.

In Telangana, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, central government with PMCARES funds sanctioned 50 oxygen plants, while another 28 are being set up by companies through corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities for the state government to run. “Out of the 50 oxygen plants sanctioned for Telangana by the union government, 16 are ready and the remaining will be ready in the next two days. The rest should be ready by September 10,” said an official from the Telangana government, who did not want to be named.

While Telangana also faced a severe bed shortage during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic few months ago, it seemingly managed to at least address the issue of oxygen requirements, barring a few incidents. However, the state also witnessed a hug spike in COVID-19 cases starting May with at least a few thousand cases being reported in a day for some weeks in April-May. In fact, the state reported over 5,000 cases on a single day in April this year.

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Aside from state-run hospitals, corporate hospitals in the state, especially in Hyderabad, also faced a severe bed shortage. Families of many patients infected with COVID-19 ran from pillar to post trying to find beds. While the situation eased eventually, Hyderabad’s hospitals were up to the brim during the second wave. Moreover, the acute shortage of oxygen also led to private hospitals charging exorbitant prices from patients.

“All government hospitals are equipped with oxygen storage tanks. Gandhi hospital has a 26 kilolitre one, while smaller healthcare centres have a capacity of 13. We were able to get oxygen supply during the second wave thanks to private distributors, who cooperated with us. Otherwise it would have been very difficult. However, with the new plants, we won’t have any problem this time hopefully,” the official from Telangana’s health department told Siasat.com.

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