Covid Crisis: India waives customs duties on imported oxygen, Covid vaccines for 3 months
London, April 24, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Importers of oxygen and covid vaccines into India will pay no import duties as part of plans to arrest the current covid crisis in the country
Reeling under an acute medical oxygen supply crisis, India has decided to waive basic customs duty on import of oxygen and related equipment as also on Covid vaccines for three months.
Health cess on oxygen and oxygen equipment also stands exempted for three months.
Heart-rending scenes abound outside one of Delhi’s most prestigious private facilities Sir Gangaram Hospital where the lives of 29 patients on invasive ventilation are hanging by a thread for four days now.
After 25 critical Covid patients died on Friday amid an oxygen crisis here the hospital management on Saturday sent out a final warning to the Centre and the Delhi government saying the oxygen supplier mandated to fulfil its commitment — INOX — had been reneging and the condition of 29 invasive ventilation patients could worsen any time now.
These patients have been on manual ventilation since last night but our staff is now exhausted, said Gangaram chairman DS Rana.
The decision was taken at a high-level emergency meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired on Saturday as reports of critical patients dying for want of oxygen began to pour in from Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab.
Supplies of oxygen through tankers has not been stabilised yet and hospitals in the national capital territory region are sustaining patients on meagre oxygen supplies moving from hour to hour.
Even AIIMS New Delhi began to report challenges on Saturday.
The Prime Minister chaired the meeting to review the steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country saying there was an immediate need to augment the supply of medical-grade oxygen as well as equipment required for patient care both at home and in hospitals.
He asked all ministries and departments to work in synergy to increase availability of oxygen and medical supplies.