Hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. Fresh cases once again touched a new peak of 3.46 lakh in a single day in India while deaths hit a grim new record of 2,600 on Friday.
Indian Air Force brings 4 cryogenic oxygen containers from Singapore
The Indian Air Force on Saturday picked up from Singapore four cryogenic containers for storage of liquid oxygen. The containers were airlifted from Singapore by C17 heavy-lift aircraft of the IAF.
The aircraft with four cryogenic oxygen containers landed at Panagarh airbase in West Bengal at around 4:30 pm.
Govt exempts customs duty on Covid vaccine, oxygen and related equipment
The government on Saturday exempted basic customs duty on import of Covid vaccine, medical-grade oxygen and related equipment to boost domestic availability and make them cheaper amid rising infections across the country.
The decision to exempt customs duty was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to boost oxygen availability in the country.
“In order to augment their production and availability and to meet the rising demand, it was decided to grant full exemption from Basic Customs Duty and health cess on import of the following items related to oxygen and oxygen related equipment for a period of three months with immediate effect,” an official statement said.
Oxygen Expresses deliver nearly 150 tonnes of Oxygen in last 24 hours
Oxygen Expresses with Liquid Medical Oxygen(LMO) tankers have arrived at Nashik & at Lucknow for Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
Few Containers were also unloaded at Nagpur and Varanasi enroute to supply LMO in these region. An Oxygen Express train carrying three tankers of liquid medical oxygen arrived in Uttar Pradesh via a green corridor.
A total of 10 containers having nearly 150 tonnes of Oxygen have been carried so far, the government said.
‘Please help’: Delhi hospitals appeal for assistance
Amid an unprecedented crisis over oxygen supply as the second coronavirus wave ravages the country, some “helpless” hospitals in Delhi are advising relatives to shift their patients to another facility, while several others have been left with no option but to use their backup stock.
Making an urgent plea for oxygen supply, Narin Sehgal, director Sehgal Neo Hospital, Meera Bagh, said the facility had 120 Covid-19 patients out of the total 150 and oxygen was left for another two hours only.
The Fortis Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, presently running on its backup oxygen supply, urged the prime minister, Delhi chief minister and other ministers for “immediate assistance”.
The Saroj Super Speciality Hospital, having not received oxygen refill for the past 44 hours, is now advising its patients to shift to other hospitals.
Elite hospitals like the Sir Ganga Ram, which got a refill of 1.5 tonnes of oxygen, said their present stock would last for two hours only. The hospital requires a minimum of 11,000 cubic metres of oxygen daily.
Kejriwal writes to all CMs, asks them to provide oxygen to Delhi ‘if they have spare’
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday wrote a letter to all the chief ministers of the country asking them to provide spare oxygen to the national capital.
“I am writing to all CMs requesting them to provide oxygen to Delhi, if they have spare. Though Central govt. is also helping us, the severity of corona is such that all available resources are proving inadequate”, Kejriwal said in a tweet.
I am writing to all CMs requesting them to provide oxygen to Delhi, if they have spare. Though Central govt. is als… https://t.co/ErZohhMtKf
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) 1619268949000
Delhi allotted more than its oxygen quota: Harsh Vardhan
Amid complaints of oxygen shortage in Delhi hospitals, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that Delhi has been allotted more than the oxygen quota it had asked for and it is the state government’s responsibility to rationalise and plan for it.
“Each state has been assigned their quota for oxygen as per the production of oxygen in India. Even Delhi has been allotted more than the (oxygen) quota they had asked for, and Delhi CM even thanked the PM for that yesterday… Now to rationalise the quota in a timely manner and the responsibility to finely plan it lies with the state government,” said Vardhan.
Punjab shuts iron, steel industries to divert oxygen for medical use
The Punjab government on Saturday ordered the closure of operations at the state’s iron and steel industry to divert oxygen for medical use. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also ordered immediate establishment of oxygen control rooms at the state and district-level.
Ordering closure of industrial operations at iron and steel plants, said the CM in a statement, adding that the state government will convey its decision to the Centre.
The move came hours after six patients died at a private hospital in Amritsar due to oxygen shortage.
‘Will hang anyone blocking oxygen supply’: Delhi high court
If any official at the central, state or local administration was obstructing in the picking up or supply of oxygen, then it would “hang” that person, Delhi high court said on Saturday.
The observation came during the hearing of a plea by Maharaja Agrasen Hospital over shortage of oxygen for seriously-ill Covid patients. The court told the Delhi government to give it one instance of who was obstructing the oxygen supply and said “we will hang that man”.
“We will not spare anyone,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli added.
20 patients die in Jaipur Golden Hospital
Twenty people died at Delhi’s Jaipur Golden Hospital, their lives ebbing as the hospital waited for oxygen to be replenished on Saturday, day five of a crisis stemming from an acute shortage of oxygen imperilling critically-ill Covid patients in India’s national capital.
Every few hours, as it has been for much of the week, hospitals across the city and its suburbs, including Ganga Ram and Max Healthcare as well as smaller facilities, sounded the alarm about dwindling stocks on social media and other platforms.
Desperate for help, some hospitals approached the Delhi high court, which termed the mounting cases a tsunami.
SpiceXpress airlifts 800 oxygen concentrators from Hong Kong to Delhi
SpiceXpress has airlifted 800 oxygen concentrators from Hong Kong to Delhi amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in an acute shortage of oxygen in the country, it said on Saturday.
“The oxygen concentrators will reach Delhi via Kolkata, where the aircraft landed at around 7 pm (on Monday),” SpiceXpress, the cargo arm of SpiceJet, said in a statement.
Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director, SpiceJet, said the airline, along with SpiceHealth, is “looking at bringing more than 10,000 oxygen concentrators in the coming days from across the globe”.
(With agency inputs)