Urging the people not to panic over the pandemic situation, the government on Monday said it was trying to address the problem of transportation of medical oxygen to high-demand areas and roped in retired medical personnel of the armed forces to work in COVID-19 facilities as daily cases hit a new peak at 3,52,991 with a record 2,812 more fatalities.
With no let-up in the second wave, Karnataka imposed a 14-day shutdown, after Delhi and Jharkhand took a similar step last week, while lockdown-like restrictions including night curfew continued in many other states. Delhi and Karnataka joined a host of others states who have announced free vaccine for all adults from May 1, when the eligibility age for the vaccination will be relaxed to 18 years.
Urging the people to get vaccinated and observe COVID-19-appropriate behaviour, the government said it is time they start wearing masks inside their homes as well. Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said a COVID-positive person must wear the mask inside the house as well to prevent other family members from getting infected. Amid more disquieting developments related to the shortage of oxygen in hospitals in high caseload states including the death of five patients in Haryana, the government asserted that there is adequate stock of the life-saving gas. "We have enough stock of oxygen. The issue is transportation which we are trying to resolve by the active involvement of all stakeholders," Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs PiyushGoyal said.
"There is absolutely no need to panic for oxygen," Goel said, adding the central government is monitoring the movement of oxygen tankers on a real-time basis through GPS and making them available to hospitals at the shortest possible time.