Wednesday, 05 May, 2021


India's top private hospital runs out of oxygen

Jaipur Golden Hospital Kangana Ranaut is touched after seeing Pakistan stand with India amid its Covid-19 crisis
Patty Aguilar | 25 April, 2021, 15:39

India reported 2,624 deaths, a daily record, on Saturday as a surge of cases has pushed the government to organise special trains to get oxygen supplies to worst-hit cities.

The country of 1.3 billion people has logged over a million new cases in the past three days, bringing its pandemic totals up to 16.9 million recorded cases of the coronavirus, including 192,311 deaths.

Most hospitals in India are not equipped with independent plants that generate oxygen directly for patients, primarily because they require an uninterrupted power supply, which is a rarity in many states.

At the Bhadbhada Vishram Ghat crematorium, workers said they cremated more than 110 people on Saturday, even as government figures in the city with a population of 1.8 million put the total number of deaths at just 10.

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal extended a lockdown in the capital that was due to end on Monday for a week to try and stem the transmission of the virus which is killing one person every four minutes.

High demand for tickets on India-US flights after the advisory on Thursday has led to the spike in fares, they said.

The court asked the state government to inform the Centre about such officials who may be obstructing oxygen supply so that it could take action against them.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), Batra Hospital, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Fortis Shalimar Bagh, Mata Chanan Devi, Metro Hospital Preet Vihar, and Saroj Hospital made SOS calls about a shortage of medical oxygen.

Most of the country's oxygen production capacity is centred around industries, many of which are concentrated in India's eastern states, while the current surge in infections is in the northern and western states.

The Union government had declared it had beaten back the coronavirus in February.

"The virus is swallowing our city's people like a monster", said Mamtesh Sharma, an official at the site. But health experts say India had an entire year to prepare for the inevitable - and it didn't.

The head gravedigger at New Delhi's largest Muslim cemetery, where 1,000 people have been buried during the pandemic, said more bodies are arriving now than past year. It has opened up the immunisation programme to all adults but faces a shortage.

Britain began to gradually lift Covid-19 restrictions last month after months of curbs and a successful mass vaccination campaign.

In the U.S., regulators have approved the re-start of a rollout of Johnson & Johnson vaccines halted over blood clotting concerns.

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