Oxygen crisis deepens in Gujarat as Covid cases cross 500,000 mark

Wednesday 28th April 2021 06:56 EDT

The spectre of crippling oxygen shortage threatening to snuff out Covid-19 affected lives is looming large in Gujarat. Growing need of gasping Covid-19 patients has rendered 1,000MT availability of the gas insufficient as hospitals across cities and towns reportedly struggled to treat unabated flow of breathless patients.

The state government informed the Gujarat high court that there are 52,036 Covid patients currently on oxygen support across the state. “With the surge in cases, oxygen demand has risen from 58 MT on March 15 to 1,000 MT on April 24. The state received a quota of 1000 MT on April 24 and all was consumed in hospitals. The state government has created a distribution monitoring and audit system to avoid wastage,” government submitted in HC.

Earlier in the day, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Surat, warned that around 400 hospitals with 4,000 Covid-19 patients will have to start discharging patients if the oxygen supply is not restored. Representatives from IMA, Surat, met the district collector and the city police commissioner to red-flag the issue. They also shot off a letter to CM Vijay Rupani claiming the diamond city is receiving 20% less oxygen supply against its requirement of 230 metric ton.

“Over 4,000 indoor patients are admitted in 400-odd private hospitals of the city. If the oxygen supply is not restored immediately, hospitals will be forced to discharge patients,” said Dr Nirmal Choraria, chairman of Covid-19 task force of IMA, Surat.

Covid double mutant has 16 variants in Gujarat

The double mutant SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 version of Covid virus currently impacting lives has 16 variants in Gujarat, according to information published on the GISAID website, a worldwide Covid information collaboration platform. The information on Covid-19 variants found in 11 different states of India has been reported to GISAID by a team of scientists of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG). It is a grouping of 10 national laboratories established by the Union ministry of health.
The INSACOG updated the global platform of 16 variants of the B.1.617 Covid virus mutant in Gujarat, 175 variants in Maharashtra, and 133 variants in West Bengal. This was submitted to GISAID in February.

Another vital piece of information says there are 25 versions of the UK variant, SARSCoV-2 B.1.1.7, in Gujarat at the moment. The UK variant was first detected in London as well as in the southeast and the east of England in December 2020. Gujarat was among a few vigilant states in the country that initially provided samples to the National Centre for Cell Science, Delhi, an institute which is part of the INSACOG.
According to the GISAID, the first report of the B.1.617’s presence in Gujarat was reported on February 2 this year with three samples testing positive for the double mutant virus. ater on February 3, two samples showed the mutant presence; and then on February 6, three more samples showed the double mutant virus.

The GISAID platform is maintained by the governments of Germany, the official host; Singapore; and the US. It provides open-access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 pandemic.

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