Oxygen shortages compound death toll as India confronts Covid-19 surge

Carrie Guzman
April 22, 2021

"We want to know what the Central government is doing with regard to oxygen supply across India", the bench said. "I have not got confirmation", he said. World Health Organisation data shows that 295,041 new cases were reported on April 21.

The problem clearly is not of availability but we are not able to transport oxygen to the hospitals. The country is also grappling with the emergence of two "escape mutations".

India reports highest daily global toll with 300,000 coronavirus infections. Over 2,000 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

The officers, of the rank of deputy district officer, will "be present at the company site during the allotted hours and ensure adequate supply of oxygen to Covid-19 hospitals" in the Gautam Buddha Nagar district, the order by Suhas said.

In total India has recorded 15.6 million cases, second only to the United States, and more than 180,000 deaths, though it is behind many countries on a per capita basis. The state's health minister Rajesh Tope spoke on television in India and was reported saying that the patients who were on ventilators had died.

The Centre, last Friday, had directed states to ensure uninterrupted movement of medical oxygen carrying vehicles along their borders and said that they must not impose any curb on production and supply of the essential public health commodity anywhere. India is trying to import oxygen and has started to divert oxygen supplies from industry to the health system.

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The court conducted an extraordinary hearing at 8pm on a distress plea made by Max Group of Hospitals, stating that if the supply of oxygen was not replenished immediately, the lives of the patients who were critical and on oxygen support would be endangered. This was followed by Delhi, which lost 249 people, and Uttar Pradesh from where 187 new fatalities were recorded.

The situation was so severe that some people tried to loot an oxygen tanker, forcing authorities to beef up security, according to the health minister of the northern state of Haryana.

Simultaneously, India's vaccination drive is operational all across India and the government lately liberalised its vaccine strategy in view of soaring cases by including those aged above 18 from May 1.

According to the ICMR, 27,10,53,392 samples have been tested up to April 20 with 16,39,357 samples being tested on Tuesday. She lives alone here as her son is in Singapore, the officer said. "If you have corona (virus) or if you don't, it doesn't matter. The hospitals have no place for you", said Dharmendra Kumar, her son. His mother, Kamla Devi, a 71-year-old diabetic, was admitted to a hospital in the capital last week when her blood sugar levels fell. Meanwhile, 13,449,406 have returned home after treatment.

The city's government, run by a different party to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's national administration, has accused neighbouring states governed by Modi's party of holding up supplies.

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