BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina has frozen the price of medicinal oxygen for 90 days and directed liquid oxygen producers in the country to give priority to the health system due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, the government said on Thursday.
The country is getting hit by a second wave of infections, pushing the number of deaths from the virus in the country to over 60,000 as the government tightens lockdown measures. Argentina, with a population of about 45 million, has had 2.92 million cases of COVID-19 so far.
“All liquid oxygen producers are obliged to allocate supplies to the health sector, said a health ministry resolution published in the official gazette.
Argentina wants to avoid the kind of crisis being faced by India, where IT firms have set up “war-rooms” to provide oxygen, medicine and hospital beds for infected workers while Germany and France say they are sending much-needed oxygen supplies to India.
Argentina suspended any increase in the prices of medical oxygen for 90 days because “in a context of growing demand, changes have been reported in the prices of drugs, supplies and, in particular, of liquid medical oxygen in bulk or in tubes.”
Vaccination is going slowly in Argentina, with 7.7 million doses applied so far, according to official data.
(Reporting by Maximilian Heath, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Alistair Bell)