India Bans Oxygen to Most Industries to Meet Hospitals’ Demand
Doctors gather near to an oxygen cylinder in a ward in New Delhi. (Photographer T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

India Bans Oxygen to Most Industries to Meet Hospitals’ Demand

India has barred the supply of oxygen to many industries to meet rising demand from hospitals which are under pressure from a surge in coronavirus infections in the country.

Clinical demand for the gas has increased to 60% of India’s production and is expected to rise further, the Ministry of Health said in a statement late Sunday. The nation reported a record 273,810 new infections on Monday.

Maharashtra -- the epicenter of the new wave of infections in India -- has requested authorities to airlift oxygen cylinders into the state. Industries that create oxygen as a byproduct have been bottling the gas for hospitals, and Indian Railways is running special tankers across key corridors to transport it.

Meanwhile, shares of oxygen manufacturers are surging. Linde India Ltd. rose almost 10% on Monday, the biggest increase in seven month, while the benchmark index dropped 2%.

“We are supplying oxygen for medical purposes as our priority in response to the current crisis,” a representative for JSW Steel Ltd. said in an e-mailed response. “Currently, the supplies are ramped up to over 185 tonnes and making every effort to increase further from all our steel plants across the country.”

Industries allowed to use oxygen:

  • Ampoules and vials
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Petroleum refineries
  • Steel plants
  • Nuclear energy facilities
  • Oxygen cylinder manufacturers
  • Waste water treatment plants
  • Food & water purification

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