India Covid Crisis: Hospitals Plead For Help as Cases near 20 Million
By Staff, Agencies
India’s coronavirus case total stood at 19.57m so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with 215,542 deaths recorded.
Consequently, hospitals in Delhi continued to send desperate messages for emergency oxygen supplies through the night on Sunday, warning that patients are at risk after two weeks of crisis have so far shown no signs of abating.
At least 12 patients, including a doctor, died when a prominent hospital ran out of oxygen on Saturday. Outside hospitals, families of patients who can't find a bed are struggling to get hold of portable cylinders - sometimes standing in queues for up to 12 hours.
Several big hospitals in Delhi are relying on daily oxygen supplies but they are not getting enough to keep some as backup in case of emergency.
One doctor described the situation as frightening: "Once you've used up your main tank, there is nothing to fall back on."
Meanwhile, the situation remains worse in small hospitals that don't have storage tanks and have to rely on big cylinders, with the oxygen crisis deepening as coronavirus cases continue to surge.
Delhi alone reported more than 20,000 new infections and 407 deaths on Sunday.
The country, meanwhile, over the weekend recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began, and became the first country to register more than 400,000 new cases in a single day.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has repeatedly said that the city was not getting enough oxygen from the federal government, which allocates oxygen quotas to states.
According to federal officials, there is no shortage of oxygen, but the challenge are due to transportation.