'Not in position to give oxygen outside state': Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan writes to PM Modi as COVID-19 cases skyrocket

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that with the Covid case load surging, his state will no longer be able to supply oxygen to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, as was being done till now.

In a letter to Modi, Vijayan said the state produces 219 metric tonnes of oxygen and given its huge daily requirement, it is in no position to give this outside the state anymore, and hence, it should be allowed to use it for its own needs.

The reserve stock of 450 tonnes of oxygen has now come down to 86 tonnes and with cases continuing to rise, Kerala should be given exemption with regards to oxygen supplies, he demanded.

Kerala presently has 4.23 lakh active Covid cases, and the daily test positivity rate is also at its peak of 28 per cent and given the spike, the total number of active cases is likely to cross five lakh very soon.

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are among the top 10 states that accounted for 73.91 per cent new Covid-19 cases registered in the last 24 hours, said Union Health Ministry's data on Monday.

Kerala on Monday received 3.5 lakh doses of Covishield vaccineto combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Indigo regular flight carrying the Covishield vaccine landed at Cochin International Airport at 11.50 AM, a CIAL spokesman said.

The state government has placed an order for over one crore doses of vaccine to accelerate the vaccination drive in the state.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the age group of 18-45 would be prioritised in Kerala with people having comorbidities given preference.

"It has been informed that the State will get a small portion of doses this month. So, the vaccination drive for those in 18-45 will be prioritised," Vijayan has said.

He has said the state government would initiate steps to ensure the availability of enough vaccines and take the matter up with the Centre.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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