On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Federal Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain stated that the government would consider importing oxygen from China and Iran, if the growing number of coronavirus cases leads to oxygen shortages.
In a press briefing, the minister stated that “The government was also considering import of oxygen from China and Iran if the need arose”, adding that “Currently Pakistan was producing 792 metric tons of oxygen to meet the requirement of COVID-19 patients”.
“The situation in Pakistan would have [been] different had it not increased 7,000 ventilator beds and doubled the production of oxygen during the last one year,” the minister mentioned, adding that the cabinet also decided that the oxygen supply meant for the industrial sector would be diverted to the health sector “if the situation worsened”.
Meanwhile, the country’s southern Sindh province has decided to ban elective surgeries to divert oxygen to coronavirus patients, according to Murtaza Wahab, Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh on Law and Environment.
Authorities in Islamabad, have also suspended all scheduled routine surgeries at public hospitals to divert available oxygen supplies to those suffering from COVID-19, as reported by Geo News.
About 5,075 coronavirus patients are currently in critical care in Pakistan, which is the highest number since the pandemic began in February last year.