The oxygen crisis in the Indian capital is escalating with each passing day. A week after 50 patients on ventilator died at two private hospitals in Delhi due to "low pressure oxygen", 12 more people lost their lives at another leading medical facility in the national capital on Saturday after it ran out of the life-saving gas.
Batra Hospital said the Covid care facility ran out of oxygen at 11.45am. "Supply came at 1.30pm (a second tanker reached at around 4pm). But we were out of oxygen for 1 hour and 20 mins. By the time supplies came, 12 people, including a doctor, were dead. Most of them were Covid patients on life support," the hospital said in a statement.
The deceased doctor has been identified as RK Himthani, the head of the hospital's gastroenterology unit. "He was also a Covid patient undergoing treatment at the hospital. Over 200 patients at the medical facility are still in a critical condition," a spokesperson for Batra told the media.
Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia took to Twitter to express his anguish at the loss of lives. "The central government) Friday told the Supreme Court that some 10,000 MT oxygen is produced daily in the country, which is quite surplus to the daily needs of 7500MT. Delhi needs 976MT, yet Delhi's quota is 490MT and supplies only 312MT. Why?"
India's main opposition Congress party's chief Sonia Gandhi too lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in the country.
In a video message, the 74-year-old called for a nationwide strategy to fight the surge in Covid cases in India. "Testing should be increased across the country and medical oxygen and other resources should be arranged on war footing. Free vaccination should be arranged for all the citizens so that people can be saved," she said.
"It's high time that the federal and state governments wake up and fulfil their responsibilities. Migration of the labourers should be stopped. A minimum of Rs 6,000 should be added to their accounts till the crisis is over," Gandhi said in the video message shared by the Congress on the party's official Twitter handle.
Gandhi's call for a nationwide strategy and the 12 deaths at the Delhi hospital came on a day when India registered a record four lakh cases in a span of 24 hours, for the first time after reporting over three lakh daily infections for nine days in a row. Delhi alone has been logging nearly 20,000-25,000 Covid cases daily for the past fortnight.
Also read: Indian capital gasps for oxygen
In the past one week, at least 50 Covid patients on life support have died at two leading Delhi hospitals due to oxygen shortage. On April 24, Jaipur Golden Hospital, a dedicated Covid medical facility in Delhi, announced the death of 25 Covid patients in 24 hours due to "low-supply oxygen" to critical patients on ventilator.
A day before, another leading hospital in Delhi also said in a statement that 25 patients lost their lives in 24 hours due to an acute shortage of oxygen. "25 sickest patients have died in the last 24 hours. Oxygen will last another two hours. Major crisis likely. Lives of 60 sickest patients at risk, need urgent intervention," Sir Ganga Ram Hospital had said.
It may also be mentioned here that as many as 24 Covid patients on ventilator at a government hospital in the western state of Maharashtra died some 10 days ago after their oxygen supply ran out following leakage of the life-supporting gas from a tanker. The tanker was brought to Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in Nashik district to replenish the cylinders.