Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that the state is increasingly deploying the services of retired doctors and nurses to ensure that COVID-19 patients are taken care of. In a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Thackeray said that tele-medicine and tele-ICU techniques are also being explored to treat a large number of patients. Informing the Prime Minister that the state has already implemented strict restrictions, Mr. Thackeray claimed that efforts are being made not to affect economic activities.
Stating that over 60,000 patients are currently on oxygen support, the Chief Minister said, the requirement of this essential gas is likely to shoot to 2000 metric tonnes from the current 1550 metric tonnes. Mr. Thackeray said that transport of oxygen via railways is time-consuming and hence air routes must be explored. He asked the Centre for provision of 13,000 jumbo cylinders and 1100 ventilators to deal with the current surge in infection cases. Mr. Thackeray also demanded provision of 70,000 vials of Remdesivir as against the current quota of 27,000 that is being given daily as the drug has been found effective in treatment of mild and severe patients.
Mr. Thackeray informed the Prime Minister that vaccination has slowed down on account of scarcity of available doses, adding that the state currently has just a little over 5 lakh doses. He said that over 5.71 crore people will be eligible for vaccination in the third phase and accordingly, close to 12 crore doses will be required in the near future. Claiming that domestic manufacturing is likely to fall short in catering to such huge demand, Mr. Thackeray requested the Prime Minister for clear directions on distribution of vaccines and also smooth import of foreign vaccines.