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Health News

India caps prices of medical oxygen amid rising COVID-19 cases

FILE PHOTO: A woman sits with her child inside a quarantine centre for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients amidst the spread of the disease at an indoor sports complex in New Delhi, September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said on Saturday it was capping the price of liquid oxygen used to treat victims of novel coronavirus and other respiratory diseases after complaints of hoarding and shortages, as total covid infections hit 5.9 million countrywide.

The Indian health ministry on Saturday reported more than 85,000 cases in the last 24 hours.

“Due to the absence of a price cap on liquid medical oxygen, manufacturers have hiked prices to fillers,” the government said in a statement, referring to off-takers such as hospitals and clinics which use the oxygen.

To ensure that the oxygen is available at reasonable rates, the government has capped manufacturers’ prices at 15.22 rupees per cubic metre (CUM), the statement said.

Prices of a cubic metre of medical oxygen delivered by cylinder to end-users has been fixed at 25.71 rupees, higher than the previous ceiling price of 17.49/CUM.

The new ceiling prices are applicable for six months and exclude taxes.

India’s demand for medical oxygen has increased by almost four times to 2,800 tonnes a day, straining production and supply, the statement said.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by James Drummond

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