Centre asks States to use oxygen rationally

Centre asks States to use oxygen rationally

India reported 3,14,835 Covid-19 new cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day spike since the onset of the pandemic early past year, taking the overall infection tally to 1,59,30,965 on Thursday, according to data from the Union Health Ministry. I would also request states to use the lockdown as the last resort. Hospitals in several states have been overwhelmed with patients, and demand for oxygen has soared.

Television showed images of people with empty oxygen cylinders crowding refilling facilities in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, as they scrambled to save stricken relatives in hospital.

The Health Ministry said that of the country's total production of 7500 tonnes of oxygen per day, 6600 tonnes were being allocated for medical use.

The HC said, "Why is the Centre not waking up to the gravity of the situation?"

"Local oxygen suppliers were contacted and 11 oxygen cylinders were arranged for the hospital from Kirti Nagar, Gole Market and Mayapuri", Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (west) Prashant Gautam said.

A Kashmiri man receives the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 at a health centre. The country is also grappling with the emergence of two "escape mutations".

India's wave of cases is contributing to a worldwide rise in infections as many places experience deepening crises, such as Brazil and France, spurred in part by new, more contagious variants, including one first detected in India.

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On Wednesday, 2 023 deaths were reported, which was the highest single-day spike so far.

Modi said in an address to the nation on Tuesday night that "all efforts are being made" to boost supplies. Over 2,000 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan even declared in March that the country had entered the "endgame" - but he was already behind the curve: Average weekly cases in Maharashtra state, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, had tripled in the previous month.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to provide medical oxygen to Delhi, saying it was an "emergency" as some hospitals were going to run out of the critical item in a few hours. This brought bad hardship to millions, but also bought time to implement measures to plug critical gaps, like hiring additional health care workers on short-term contracts, establishing field hospitals and installing hospital beds in banquet halls.

The court, in its order, said, "Yesterday, we had passed a detailed order, including on the aspect of shortage of oxygen".

As of Thursday morning, Delhi has 29 vacant ICU beds, according to government data.

The stark figures come as health care and other essential services across India are close to collapse amid a second coronavirus wave that is tearing through the country with devastating speed.

Ten states, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, account for 77.67 per cent of the new COVID-19 infections reported in a day, the Union Health Ministry said.

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