NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry has issued guidelines for the states on the method of supplying oxygen to the medical facilities handling COVID-19 patients and said all hospitals and staff concerned must be told to ensure timely requisitions and payments so that there is no disruption in the oxygen supply.

In a letter to the additional chief secretaries, health secretaries and mission directors of the National Health Mission of all states and Union territories, the ministry said the COVID-19 pandemic is throwing up unique challenges for our health systems and also leading to challenges of not only ensuring an adequate oxygen supply but also regarding the protocols related to handling the major sources of supplies.

“Keeping the above facts in mind, guidelines have been prepared by incorporating the major sources of oxygen supply, oxygen system component, normative requirement of the quantity of oxygen and precautions required for handling oxygen cylinders, including disinfecting the cylinders right from the filling point to transportation, loading, unloading, use, exchange, carriage in the hospitals and in critical care facilities.

“All concerned hospitals and staff must be informed to ensure timely requisitions and payments so that there is no disruption in oxygen supplies,” the ministry said.

It has enclosed with the guidelines the control room emergency contact numbers of the All India Industrial I Gases Manufacturers’ Association for the states and Union territories in case they face any difficulty or need clarifications.

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