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Gujarat govt notifies vehicles carrying medical oxygen to be treated as ambulance for COVID-19 treatment

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Thursday, October 15, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Gujarat government has notified vehicles permitted for carrying oxygen for medical purposes to be treated on par with ambulance to ensure unrestricted supply of oxygen for COVID-19 management.

According to the notification, vehicles carrying oxygen shall be treated on par with ambulance to ensure unrestricted supply of oxygen for a period of one year for COVID-19 management in exercise of powers conferred by Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (3 of 1897) read with sub Section (1) and clause (1) of Sub Section (2) of Section 38 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (53 of 2005).

“I had written to the state home ministry to notify the same to ensure consistent supply of medical oxygen for COVID-19 since there are restrictions in day time for heavy vehicles in metro cities like Ahmedabad and Surat. The state home ministry took the matter expeditiously and recommended the state health ministry to notify it on priority,” informed Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) Commissioner Dr H G Koshia.  

The emergency medical treatment being also a part of disaster management in the light of COVID-19, the government of Gujarat has considered it expedient in the public interest to make easily available supply of medical oxygen in hospitals for timely treatment of patients of COVID-19.

The provisions of Sub Rule (4) of Rule 108 and Sub Rule 3 of Rule 119 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 shall apply to such vehicles.

The Union health ministry recently directed all the states to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.

States and UTs were also urged to ensure free inter-state movement of oxygen supplies based on complaints of shortage, hoarding and black marketing of medical oxygen across the country.

The Gujarat FDCA has issued licenses to 10 more oxygen manufacturers recently taking the total count to 57 medical oxygen manufacturers to cater to COVID-19 patients.

This comes at a time when the Union health ministry has directed all the states to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.States and UTs were also urged to ensure free inter-state movement of oxygen supplies based on complaints of shortage, hoarding and black marketing of medical oxygen across the country.

Gujarat is today producing four times more than its requirement of 200 metric tonnes of medical oxygen on a daily basis. With the issuing of new licenses, the state is producing 800 metric tonnes daily.

All healthcare institutions in the state of Gujarat have been directed to comply with Essential Commodities (EC) Act and provide medical oxygen free of cost, Dr Koshia added.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier directed state licensing authorities (SLAs) to urgently grant permission to manufacturers of industrial oxygen to manufacture medical oxygen in the light of COVID-19 outbreak. It was brought to the notice of the union health ministry that few States are trying to curb the free inter-state movement of oxygen supplies by exercising provisions under various Acts and also mandating the manufacturers and suppliers located in the State to restrict their oxygen supplies to only the hospitals of the State.

 

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