The Defence Ministry on Friday said it will airlift 23 mobile oxygen generation plants from Germany to augment the supply of medical oxygen amidst a shortage in the country because of the rising COVID-19 cases.
The oxygen will be used at the COVID-19 hospitals being run by Armed Forces Medical Service (AFMS) across the country.
"23 mobile oxygen generation plants are being airlifted from Germany. Armed Forces Medical Service has decided to import oxygen generation plants and containers from Germany to cater to the shortage," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The oxygen generating plants are expected to arrive within a week. "Each plant has a capacity to produce 40 litres of oxygen per minute and 2,400 litres an hour. At this rate, it can cater to 20-25 patients round the clock. The advantage of these plants is that they are easily portable," the ministry added.
Amidst the surge in COVID-19 cases and the rise in hospitalised patients because of the infection, many states and hospitals are facing a scarcity of medical oxygen. The country reported 3,32,730 new COVID-19 cases and 2,263 deaths because of the infection in the preceding 24 hours as of Friday morning.
AFMS is running the COVID-19 hospitals set up by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). One such hospital in Delhi with 250 beds has already been set up, while a hospital in Patna with 500 beds has also started operations. The number of beds in the Delhi hospital is being increased to 500, while a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, a 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and a 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad have also been set up.
Military hospitals that cater to serving personnel, their dependents and ex-servicemen are also packed with coronavirus patients.
Efforts are also being made to increase the capacity of Army's Base Hospital in Delhi, India Today quoted sources as saying. The hospital was turned into an exclusive COVID care hospital on Thursday and the number of oxygen beds, currently at 258, will be increased in the next few days.