Oxygen shortage could lead to rise in COVID deaths, warn Health Professionals

Oxygen shortage could lead to rise in COVID deaths, warn Health Professionals

Oxygen shortage could lead to rise in COVID deaths, warn Health Professionals

Written by Zulfick Farzan

06 Aug, 2021 | 12:09 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Health professionals in Sri Lanka have warned that COVID-19 deaths could rise in the future due to lack of oxygen as a result of the rapid increase in COVID numbers across the country.

Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) President, Dr. Padma Gunaratne said to prevent such a situation from arising in the country, the general public must act responsibly.

‘Rising COVID numbers lead to rising numbers of critical patients. There is a threat posed by the Delta Variant,’ she warned.

Dr. Padma Gunaratne went on to note that with rising numbers of critical patients in hospitals that are gradually running out of space for the patients, there will be a high demand for oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients.

‘Usually, a person who succumbs to COVID-19 had contracted the virus around two or three weeks before passing away,’ she added.

However, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Director-General Public Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath told News 1st that all necessary measures have been taken to prevent any shortage of oxygen in Sri Lanka.

He said various programs, including the provision of storage tanks for oxygen at major hospitals, have been implemented to prevent a shortage of oxygen.

Further, facilities have been provided for major hospitals to manufacture oxygen using in-house plants, and these units will be provided to rural hospitals.

In addition, another 3000 Breathing Aid Devices have been provided to multiple hospitals in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Hemantha Herath said if the number of COVID-19 patients continues to rise, the oxygen supply will reach a situation where it cannot meet the demand.

State Minister (Professor) Channa Jayasumana told Parliament on Thursday (05) that in the next two weeks oxygen will be imported from India and Singapore, he said.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi also told Parliament on Thursday (05) that two entities in the country are producing nearly 77 tonnes of oxygen and 44 tonnes are being given to hospitals for medical purposes while the rest is being distributed to factories.

“Cabinet approval has already been obtained to take the measures required to meet any rising demand for oxygen. Accordingly, the relevant procurement has been made in this regard,” she told the house.

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