Mumbai: As the country battles with the second wave of the novel coronavirus, the healthcare system in India has come under intense pressure with hospitals around the nation reporting acute shortage of medical oxygen. In view of the shortage of the oxygen, the Centre has taken steps to ensure availability of medical oxygen to states and the Union Territories.
The Centre has set-up oxygen tankers to states that have been hard-hit by the infection and are currently overwhelmed with patients in need of the life-saving gas. To ensure safe transit of oxygen tankers, a GPS-based real-time tracking system of oxygen tankers has been developed.
At a routine briefing on steps taken by the government to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Piyush Goyal told mediapersons on Monday that multiple efforts were being undertaken to enhance production and quickly transport oxygen to the hospitals and patients.
The Maharashtra Transport Department in association with the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) state unit has installed GPS devices to monitor the movement of oxygen tankers in the state.
From Monday, 250 oxygen tankers fitted with the GPS devices have allowed the Transport Department to keep 24X7 check on the vehicles on a single dashboard set up in the Transport Commissioner's office.
The development came after FADA State Chairperson Amar Jatin Sheth met Transport Commissioner Avinash Dhakane and discussed the matters recently. Following Dhakane's reference, the FADA decided to arrange the GPS devices and spent Rs 10 lakh for the venture.
FADA president Vinkesh Gulati stated the move would strengthen the hands of the state government at the height of the second wave of the outbreak. It will also help save precious lives of patients by delivering them with the lifesaving oxygen on time, and help the efficient management of tankers' movements. Dhakane also praised the contribution of FADA and stated that the GPS fitted tankers would be able to do a quick improvement and help save more peoples' lives.
Maharashtra currently is the worst-hit by the COVID-19 in terms of infections and deaths, though the situation is slowly improving, and there is a huge demand for oxygen among the patients.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra witnessed a sharp drop in both new infections and fatalities on Monday. Against 669 fatalities on Sunday, the state toll decreased by 102 to 567, taking the total fatalities to 70,861.
The number of new infections came down to the 50,000 mark after a week, going down from 56,647 on Sunday to 48,621 on Monday, and the state total jumped to 47,71,022. For the second day, the state death rate remained stable at 1.49 per cent, while the number of active cases gone down to 656,870.
On the positive side, 59,500 fully cured patients returned home - higher than the number of fresh cases - taking the total up to 40,41,158 now, but the recovery rate fell from 84.31 per cent on Sunday to 84.07 per cent now.