Oxygen supply situation under control despite rapid increase in COVID-19 cases: Asad Umar

ISLAMABAD:Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Friday said due to the proactive decisions by National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) to increase oxygen production capacity and importing more oxygen cylinders, the situation in hospitals was under control despite rapid increase in the COVID-19 cases.

“Total number of critical care Covid patients on oxygen reached 5,360 yesterday. This is 57 percent more than the peak last June, he said in a series of tweets.

“Alhamdulillah have so far managed to cope with this huge increase because of proactively building capacity of the entire system from oxygen production to beds,” he added.

The minister who is also NCOC chief said total oxygen production operational capacity in Pakistan last year was 487 tons per day which had been increased to 798 tons while oxygen production had gone up from 465 tons per day last June to 725 tons currently. “We also imported 19,200 oxygen cylinders last year to ensure distribution.”

He said the federal government added 2811 oxygen beds all over Pakistan last year whereas the provinces had also added more.

The minister said despite having more than 2,000 additional Covid patients on oxygen compared to last June peak, the tight oxygen supply situation that was seen last year had not been created now.

Continuing to build capacity, Asad Umar said the NCOC decided to import 6,000 tons oxygen, 5,000 cylinders and 20 cryogenic tanks. “It is this proactive decision making which has with Allah’s blessings help us avoid the kind of scenes being witnessed in some other countries.”

He noted that bedrock of this proactive decision making had been a data based forward looking analytical approach, nationally coordinated effort with a whole of the nation approach and hard work of dedicated teams who continued to steer the efforts through this difficult challenge.

“However, the challenge is not over and in fact is continuing to increase. The need for precautions and following SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) is vital at this point in time. Next few weeks are critical. No system can cope if we allow the disease to spread rapidly,” he add.