THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has informed the Centre that it will be “practically impossible” to allow oxygen to be taken outside the state owing to the huge domestic demand that may arise on account of rising Covid cases. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the number of Covid patients in the state is expected to rise to around six lakh by May 15. This would necessitate around 450 MT of oxygen, while the state’s buffer stock is only 86 MT, he pointed out.
“In order to manage the crisis the state had ensured 450 MT of buffer stock and has been managing oxygen without putting pressure on the national grid. However, due to demand from other states, the buffer stock was allowed to be transported,” Pinarayi said.
The Chief Minister also urged the Centre to allow the entire oxygen produced in Kerala (219MT) to be allocated to the state itself. However, on the basis of a direction from the Central Committee on oxygen allocation, the state will allow 40MT of oxygen to Tamil Nadu up to May 10, he assured. Even though the Covid Test Positivity Rate (TPR) has shown a slight decline over the past few days in the state, the number of fresh cases reported from Kannur, Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts continues to be on the rise, Pinarayi said after assessing the state’s Covid situation.
He also cautioned that the TPR of above 50% in 19 panchayats in Ernakulam district poses a ‘serious situation’. While strong preventive measures will be adopted in Kannur, Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam, the number of Covid cases in other districts is slowly on the decline, the CM said.
“There are 72 panchayats in the state with TPR of above 50%. While TPR of over 30% has been reported in more than 300 panchayats, the active case load in 57 panchayats is between 500 and 2,000,” Pinarayi said.