Hospitals On The Brink
The hospitals of the National Capital are running out of oxygen as the Covid-19 caseload increases. Six private hospitals of Delhi have exhausted their oxygen stock. The Delhi High court has also asked the Centre to ensure that Delhi receives its full quota of oxygen supply. Saroj Super Specialty Hospital and Shanti Mukund Hospital have been flagging shortage of oxygen for quite a while, and the former has even approached the High Court of Delhi for the release of oxygen by suppliers INOX, after which it received a few hours of supply. Besides these, Tirath Ram Shah Hospital, UK Nursing Home, Rathi Hospital and Santom Hospital also reported having run out of oxygen by the Delhi government. Apart from this, at the Holy Family Hospital, only 2.5 hours of oxygen is left, and it faced a severe shortage yesterday as well, reported NDTV.
Oxygen Needed, Lives At Stake
Twenty-five people lost their lives today due to a shortage of Oxygen in Delhi; accidents and fire have also been reported from many parts of the country. Lives are being lost, and more countless lives are at stake. Even though Delhi had clearly said that it needed 700 Metric Tonnes of Oxygen yesterday, it received only 500 Metric Tonnes of Oxygen from the Centre. This is due to the restrictions in the mobility of the oxygen tankers from the source States to Delhi. The State, therefore, expressed its concern on this matter as the Centre assures to think of a way for devising the transfer of Oxygen.
After the High Court's order, the Centre told the states that there could be no restrictions in the movement of oxygen tankers. "suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies only to hospitals of the state or Union Territory in which they are located," it added. As of now, the Centre also banned the supply and usage of Oxygen for industrial purposes except for certain critical industries.
State Governments and Central Government need to workout a lasting solution on the procurement and logistics of Oxygen supply to the hospitals on a war footing to minimize and even eliminate the loss of lives due to Oxygen shortage. Decentralized procurement and distribution policy with Central Government supporting the states monetarily and in the negotiations will be of paramount importance.