New Delhi:

Amidst the record spike in COVID-19 cases in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took a comprehensive review to ensure an adequate supply of medical grade oxygen across the country.

According to an official statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), inputs from various ministries including Health, DPIIT, Steel and Road Transport were shared with the Prime Minister. He stressed the importance of synergy across ministries and state governments.

PM Modi also took a detailed review of the current situation of oxygen supply and projected use in the coming 15 days across 12 high burden states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. It was informed that 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT have been allocated to these 12 states for meeting their projected demand as of April 20, 25 and 30, respectively.

The Prime Miniter was briefed about production capacity in the country to meet the rising demand. It was discussed that surplus stocks of oxygen supply in steel plants will be offered for medical use, according to the PMO statement. PM Modi also urged officials to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen across the country. The central government has exempted all interstate movement of oxygen tankers from registration of permits to enable easier movement.

The Prime Minister was conveyed that states and transporters have been asked to ensure tankers move round the clock with drivers working in shifts to ensure faster turnaround and adequate capacity to meet the surge in demand. Cylinder filling plants will also be permitted 24 hour working with necessary safeguards. The government is allowing industrial cylinders to be used for medical oxygen after due purging. Similarly, nitrogen and argon tankers will be automatically allowed to be converted to oxygen tankers to overcome the potential shortage of tankers, as per the statement.

Officers also briefed PM Modi about the efforts being made to import medical grade oxygen.

Meanwhile, India reported its highest-ever single-day spike in COVID-19 cases with over 2.17 lakh new cases and more than 1,100 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry on Friday.

In the last 24 hours, 1,185 COVID-related deaths were reported in the country, taking the death toll to 1,74,308. As many as 2,17,353 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in India in the last 24 hours. With this, the total number of cases has gone up to 1,42,91,917. The active number of cases stands at 15,69,743.

In the last 24 hours, 1,18,302 people recovered from the disease. With this, the total recoveries reached 1,25,47,866.