The Department of Trade and Industry in Central Visayas has assured enough oxygen tanks as Covid infections in Cebu continue to increase. | Carmel Matus, RP1 Cebu

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Central Visayas has assured that there are enough oxygen tanks in Cebu and the rest of the region.

In a joint statement with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Maria Elena Arbon, DTI Central Visayas director, assured the public Wednesday that there’s “no need to panic” since oxygen tank manufacturers have assured that they have enough supply.

Arbon said three suppliers based in Cebu can produce a daily average of 600 to 800 cylinders. “They can increase their production capacity to 200% in the event of a surge in critical Covid cases that will require supply of medical oxygen,” she said.

“If fear takes over our action, we would succumb to panic buying,” warns Abron.

Rica Aumentado of FDA Central Visayas said eight medical grade oxygen companies are registered under their office, mostly located in Cebu and one in Bohol.

The DTI warns that oxygen tank sellers who hoard supply and sell it way above the suggested retail price may face jail time of at least five to 15 years and a fine of P5,000 to P2 million.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH Central Visayas director, warns of the “dangers” of home use and storage of oxygen tanks without proper supervision from doctors.

Oxygen tanks now cost between P3,000 to P9,000, depending on size.

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia issued Tuesday Executive Order (EO) number 36 to regulate the sale of medical oxygen tanks and prevent hoarding.

Garcia’s EO ordered manufacturers and dealers to sell 50-kilogram tanks only to medical facilities.

The EO also requires a doctor’s prescription to purchase 20-pound oxygen tanks for patients under home medication. Ryan Sorote