As India's richest state Maharashtra continues to reel under the second COVID-19 wave, state health minister Rajesh Tope has made a grim forecast. Tope said according to epidemiologists, Maharashtra is likely to witness a third wave of the contagion in July or August.
The minister added the state is likely to reach the plateau level of COVID-19 cases by May-end but if a third wave hits the state by July or August, it would amplify the challenges before the state administration.
Tope said Maharashtra was looking at being self-sufficient in terms of the availability of medical oxygen by July or August. He noted the state administration won't tolerate any complaints about non-availability of oxygen when the state is hit by a third wave.
He was talking to the press after attending a review meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on COVID-19 management and vaccination. District collectors and divisional commissioners also attended this meeting.
The health minister said, "During this discussion, the chief minister stressed on setting up 125 pressure swing absorption (PSA) plants for generating medical oxygen at the earliest for treating patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection."
He said the current medical oxygen requirement was being met through local generation and supplies from the Centre.
He said the state faced a shortage of 10,000 to 15,000 vials of Remdesivir and doctors have been asked to use it judiciously.
He added the chief minister has told business houses and corporates that if they spend on setting up COVID-related facilities like oxygen generator plants, oxygen concentrators and providing equipment like CT scan and MRI machines, they can avail CSR spending-related benefits and this will also ease the financial burden on the state.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra has reported over 45.39 lakh COVID-19 cases and 67,985 fatalities. The state has been placed under lockdown-like restrictions till May 15.
Edited by Mehak Agarwal; with PTI inputs