Home Ministry has asked all state governments to ensure a smooth and hassle-free supply of medical oxygen in their respective states amid coronavirus outbreak.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla has written a letter to all the state Chief Secretaries to give special attention to making the supply of medical oxygen smooth and hassle-free.
In the letter to states, Ajay Kumar Bhalla said that there was a critical need to maintain adequate supply of medical oxygen. He also emphasised that all manufacturing units of medical oxygen and related items, their transport and cross land border movements, workers engaged in factories are exempted from lockdown.
"Within the consolidated guidelines, manufacturing units of medical devices, their raw materials and intermediates; manufacturing units of their packaging material; transportation of essential goods and medical supplies and mobilisation of resources, workers and material for augmentation and expansion of hospital infrastructure have been permitted," the ministry said.
The MHA has also issued a detailed guideline to all states for smooth functioning of supply chain of exempted items, involving inter-state movement of employees, on April 3, 2020, it added.
The communication also stressed that social distancing and proper hygiene practices must be ensured in each of the above activities as specified in the lockdown measures. "It will be the responsibility of the head of the organisation/establishment to ensure compliance of such norms," it said.
The MHA has asked the district authorities to ensure strict enforcement of 21-day lockdown that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, India has reported 354 COVID-19 positive cases in the last 24 hours (ending Tuesday morning), while the country's death toll has risen to 114.