The Centre on Saturday advised all states and Union Territories to ensure a functional and regular supply of medical oxygen.

The advisory has been issued at a time when neighbouring China is reeling from a surge in Covid-19 cases.

In the letter, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare urged states and Union Territories to hold a weekly review meeting to ensure the proper functioning of medical equipment.

It also said that easy availability of life support equipment, liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders should be ensured.

“Though the Covid cases in the country are low and not surging as of now, but to face any challenges arising in future, the operationalisation and maintenance of these medical infrastructures are of utmost importance,” the letter read. “With timely preparation and responsiveness, we will be able to meet the challenges associated with Covid-19, if any, that arise in future.”

India was one of the worst-hit countries during the first two waves of the pandemic. During the second wave, the country had struggled with a grave oxygen crisis. The shortages of life-saving gas as well as medicines and hospital beds had forced families and friends of patients to plead for help on social media. Hospitals sent out SOS messages as their oxygen stocks ran dangerously low.

RT-PCR test mandatory for passengers of some countries

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday said that RT-PCR tests will be mandatory for passengers entering India from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. They are required to upload their test results in advance.

“Even after landing in India, they will undergo thermal screening,” Mandaviya said, according to PTI. “We have issued an order for them to be quarantined in the country if found positive or with fever.”

On Thursday, the Centre had said that it will test 2% of the total international passengersfor Covid-19 after they arrive at the airports from December 24 onwards.

The 2% of passengers will be identified by the airline, and they will be allowed to leave the airport only after giving their samples for Covid-19 tests.