A sense of panic struck Jammu and Kashmir as reports of a non-existent order by the J&K administration led to some confusion among the people. There were rumours that the J&K government has imposed a ban on the private refilling of oxygen cylinders, which were the last resort for patients in dire need. But a clarification has followed to clear the air on the matter.
Social media was flooded with people's comments that the J&K government has banned the refilling of oxygen cylinders in private facilities and home facilities. With this change in process, many users also said that oxygen is only available for patients in government hospitals, which would mean a patient who can get home care in the early stages of COVID symptoms is required hospitalization in a government hospital.
This also drew a lot of criticism towards the government as COVID patients facing difficulty in breathing relied on these oxygen cylinders available in private facilities and can be refilled without hassles in case of emergencies. The option to get an oxygen cylinder refilled at a private facility is what is saving patients from getting critical and requiring hospitalization in many cases.
International Business Times reviewed several posts and complaints in the Valley about the ban on refilling oxygen. Clarifying the matter, the J&K Government issued a statement, saying no ban on the supply of oxygen to private hospitals or individuals is in place. In fact, the statement rubbished the rumors in circulation.
"To ensure and facilitate that Oxygen is available to patients genuinely needing it, the government has decided that refilled cylinders will be provided to them after furnishing requisite prescription from a doctor to the control room set up at Director Industries Jammu or Divisional Commissioner COVID control room Kashmir," the official statement read.
Moreover, the decision was taken to streamline the process of oxygen refilling on the count of cracking down on hoarding of oxygen.
"The Government has also recently received inputs about black marketing and hoarding of Oxygen. There is also a need to ensure that at a time when there is rising demand for Oxygen at hospitals, there is no misuse or hoarding of Oxygen," the statement added.
Based on the official response, IBTimes is in a position to clarify that there is no ban for any individual who requires medical oxygen during home isolation based on a medical assessment.