The Ministry of Health and Population has directed manufacturers to not sell or distribute medical oxygen cylinders without the government's permit.

The Ministry, in an official notice to gas manufacturing companies, cautioned them against sales and distribution of oxygen cylinders to hospitals -- government or private -- without the Ministry's prior recommendation.

According to the Health Ministry, the step was taken in a bid to curb ongoing shortage of oxygen cylinders required to provide Oxygen support to Covid-19 patients amid the second wave of the pandemic.

Kantipur Oxygen Pvt Ltd, Sagarmatha Oxygen Pvt Ltd, Oxytech Oxygen Pvt Ltd, Nabajyoti Oxygen Pvt Ltd, Hamro Oxygen Pvt Ltd, Sopan Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd, Himal Oxygen Pvt Ltd, Sita Oxygen Pvt Ltd and Shankar Oxygen Pvt Ltd, were among the manufacturers that received the letter.

Action would be taken against the companies if they're found selling and distributing cylinders without approval, it further said.

At the moment, government has made necessary preparations to bring 20,000 empty oxygen gas cylinders from China. A Nepal Airlines aircraft is flying to China on May 10 to bring in 400 oxygen gas cylinders in the first phase.