There is no shortage in the oxygen supply required for COVID-19 treatment, Health Services Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardena yesterday said.
A statement issued by the Health Ministry mentioned media and social media reports of an oxygen shortage in the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, saying there was no truth to these claims.
“Whether there is a shortage of oxygen in the Colombo East Base Hospital is the basis for these but there are no shortages in that hospital as well. There is no shortage in the oxygen supply from factories providing us with medical oxygen. They have the ability to supply more than what is currently provided,” Dr. Gunawardena said.
He added that the necessary quantity of oxygen is supplied to hospitals using jumbo cylinders and that discussions will be held today to discuss how this process can be carried out more efficiently.
The Director General of Health Services also spoke about the new COVID-19 variant currently spreading in the country. He said that with previous strains, only 5% of patients showed symptoms and required hospitalisation or ICU care.
“With this variant, the number of persons displaying symptoms has increased and we need to provide them with oxygen due to breathing difficulties,” he added.
He stressed that there were limitations to the capacity in COVID-19 treatment and intermediate treatment centres and that it was thus important that the public adhere to safety guidelines.