The COVID-19 crisis in India is getting worse with state administrations trying to hoard oxygen

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The COVID-19 crisis in India is getting worse with state administrations trying to hoard oxygen
Hospitals are struggling to keep their patients alive in the midst of a massive oxygen shortage. BCCL
  • Hospitals are struggling to keep their patients alive in the midst of a massive oxygen shortage.
  • While the crisis only worsens, there are petty fights between states to keep oxygen supply within their boundaries.
  • There are rising complaints of states not letting oxygen tankers pass through, in an attempt to hoard and keep the oxygen supply within the state.
Today, India reported a staggering 3.15 lakh new COVID-19 cases, the highest single day rise reported globally since the pandemic began. Doctors and healthcare workers are crumbling under the pressure of incoming patients, while hospitals are struggling to keep their patients alive in the midst of a massive oxygen shortage.

While the crisis has worsened by the minute, there are petty fights between states trying to hoard precious oxygen. There are rising complaints of states not letting oxygen tankers pass through, in an attempt to hoard and keep the oxygen supply within the state.

Over the last few days, top hospitals in India’s national capital have been taking to social media to send out signals for help – ‘just a few hours of oxygen left for hundreds of patients’ read most tweets, posts.

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At 4.46 pm, Fortis Healthcare, one of the premier hospitals in the country, tweeted that its hospital in Haryana has just 45 minutes of oxygen supply left. Where is it stuck? It’s oxygen supply from Bhiwadi in Rajasthan hasn’t been allowed to come through.


In another case, Dr. Sangita Reddy, the Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, again one of the biggest hospital chains in the country, tweeted out in despair that an oxygen tanker meant for her hospital wasn’t being allowed to move out of the plant in Panipat, Haryana.


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An hour later, she updated that the driver had been allowed to move but appealed for a ‘green corridor’ and ambulance status for oxygen cylinders.

Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has written to the health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. “Police and senior officials of administration in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are stalling the tankers carrying oxygen, delaying the tankers to reach Delhi hospitals on time," he wrote.

Sisodia has claimed that the national capital didn’t receive even 50% of the old quota of 378MT allocated.

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In a last effort to get clearance, hospitals are moving the Delhi High Court to get the needed supply of oxygen. Meanwhile the Supreme Court of India has now passed an order to transfer all COVID-19 related matters to the top court only – a move which has been criticised by many. Senior advocate and former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohtagi said that the move would make High Courts redundant, reported Live Law.

Take a moment to note, this is the struggle for oxygen in the national capital of India.

In Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in the country, almost 10% of patients are in critical need of oxygen. The state has already hit its production capacity of 1,250 tonnes, and is now dependent on states like Gujarat, Chhattisgarh for oxygen supply.

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For hospitals in smaller cities, rural areas, the situation worsens every minute.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high level meeting regarding the supply of oxygen in the country where he ‘stressed that the states should come down heavily on hoarding’.

“It was noted that in the last few days, availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen has been increased by about 3,300 MT/ day with contributions from private and public steel plants, industries, oxygen manufacturers as well as through prohibition of supply of oxygen for non-essential industries. PM directed the officials to ensure that oxygen supply to various states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner. He spoke about the need to fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction.,” read the official statement from the press information bureau.

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SEE ALSO:
If 2015 was the ‘Year of the API’, why is there a Remdesivir shortage six years later?
COVID-19: India records 3,14,835 fresh cases and 2,104 fatalities in last 24 hours, highest single day spike in any country




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