NEW DELHI: The massive requirement of oxygen availability across the country for COVID-19 patients has acquired the focus of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Navy, who have raised the scale of their operations.
Naval warships have been ferrying oxygen-laden containers from friendly foreign countries and Air Force is flying such medical equipment not only to India from abroad but also is distributing it to various locations within the country.
The navy has deployed its nine warships under the Operation Samudra Setu. The deployed ships - INS Talwar, INS Kolkata, INS Airavat, INS Kochi, INS Tabar, INS Trikand, INS Jalashwa and INS Shardul - will ferry oxygen containers/cylinders/concentrators and related equipment from friendly foreign countries.
Giving details Indian Navy spokesperson Commander (Cdr) Vivek Madhwal said, "While one has already delivered oxygen at New Mangalore, five others are homeward bound and will reach between 9-11 May. Three warships will also be embarking on fetching oxygen and medical Supplies."
The overall breakup of oxygen and medical supplies delivered/embarked includes 11 x 27 MT LMO (Liquid Medical Oxygen) Filled Cryogenic Containers, 2300 Oxygen Cylinders, 57 Oxygen concentrators, 08 x 20 T empty cryogenic oxygen cylinders, 3150 Empty oxygen cylinders, 10,000 - Rapid Antigen Test kits and 450 PPE kits.
Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Singapore are some of the friendly countries which made the supplies available.
Loading of oxygen containers and other medical supplies has also been planned on INS Tarkash, INS Shardul and INS Jalashwa from Doha, Kuwait and Muara, Brunei respectively in the coming days, told Cdr Madhwal.
The IAF has deployed its transport fleet including the 50 aircraft and 20 helicopters. The fleet of C-17 and IL-76 are being used to fly back equipment from abroad. It has intensified its efforts to aid the civil administration in tackling the current COVID-19 situation by ferrying oxygen containers and medical equipment.
Indian Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) Ashish Moghe said, "IAF aircrafts conducted 59 international sorties to airlift 72 cryogenic oxygen storage containers of 1,233 MT total capacity along with 1,252 empty oxygen cylinders."
The containers and cylinders were procured from Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok, UK, Germany, Belgium and Australia. In addition, the C-17 and IL-76 aircraft have been tasked to airlift cryogenic oxygen containers, oxygen generators and ventilators from Israel and Singapore.
"As on May 7, 2021, the C-17 aircraft of IAF have conducted 400 sorties from within the country, including 351 to airlift 252 oxygen tankers of total capacity of 4,904 Metric Tonnes (MT)," said Wg Cdr Moghe.
The cities covered were Jamnagar, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Panagarh, Indore, Ranchi, Agra, Jodhpur, Begumpet, Bhubaneswar, Pune, Surat, Raipur, Udaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Nagpur, Gwalior, Vijaywada, Baroda, Dimapur and Hindan.
In addition to the equipment, there is also requirement of trained medical professionals to run COVID hospitals and Armed forces have deployed a significant number of its personnel for COVID Duty.
Towards capacity enhancement, in the form of skilled manpower and to bolster the fight against the COVID pandemic, a contingent of 41 naval personnel from Western Naval Command, comprising medical officers, nursing officers, paramedics and support staff have been deputed to the PM Cares COVID Hospital, Dhanvantari at Ahmedabad on 6 May.
This is in addition to a 57-member naval medical team already positioned at the hospital on 29 April. With the present augmentation, the total manpower provided to the hospital by the Navy has gone up to 210. "The team is being deployed for a period of two months and will assist the hospital administration in handling covid patients," said Cdr Vivek Madhwal.
The Indian Navy on Friday established a COVID Care Centre at its Training Establishment, INS Chilka to treat COVID positive patients of Khurda district, Odisha. The 150-bed isolation centre with additional 15 bed oxygen facility at INHS Nivarini, the naval hospital, is all geared up for treating mild symptomatic COVID positive Patients. The Centre was inaugurated by Khurda collector SK Mohanty.