COVID patients die in India due to lack of O2


The number of cases across the country of about 1.3 billion rose overnight by 349,691, India's Health Ministry said on Sunday, for a total of 16.96 million cases. Experts say even those figures are likely an undercount.

But the crisis in the country of almost 1.4 billion people was deepening, amid criticism of the government's response and allegations that the scarce supplies of oxygen had been diverted by local officials to hospitals in their areas.

Hospitals and doctors have put out urgent notices that they were unable to cope with the rush of patients.

The situation is worsening by the day with hospitals taking to social media to plead with the government to replenish their oxygen supplies and threatening to stop admissions of new patients.

"We have ramped up the production as oxygen consumption is rising through the roof".

Scores have died in hospitals in India's capital amid suggestions that low oxygen supplies were to blame.

She blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for the crisis.

"In a country which is home to 18% of the world population, that country has saved humanity from a big disaster by containing corona effectively", Modi said.

A man reacts next to the body of his father, who died from COVID-19, at a crematorium in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2021 [Adnan Abidi/Reuters] But experts say the number of cases is probably many times higher and could rise further.

His government has faced criticism that it let its guard down earlier this year, allowed big religious and political gatherings to take place when India's cases fell to below 10,000 a day and did not plan for boosted healthcare systems. "It's the variants of ineptitude and abdication of public health thinking by our decision makers".

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration's top medical adviser on the pandemic, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with its counterpart agency in India to provide technical support and assistance.

Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah as well as opposition politicians this month took part in mass election rallies in five populous states with tens of thousands of supporters who were not wearing masks or social distancing.

Daily record of more than 893000 COVID cases globally
The Indian government had itself declared it had beaten back the coronavirus in February when new cases fell to all time lows. Sky News correspondent Alex Crawford reported that people were dying on the pavement outside a major hospital in New Delhi .

The government has deployed military planes and trains to get oxygen to Delhi from the far corners of the country and overseas including Singapore.

Delhi does not have any oxygen generation plants and gets bulk supplies from other states. Three months on, only 33 have been created, according to the federal Health Ministry. The hospital was due to receive oxygen by Friday evening but it arrived at midnight - too late for some patients.

Oxygen facilities are reportedly spread across seven states.

When the news anchor asked Bankata what happens when a hospital issues an SOS call as his had done, Bankata replied: "Nothing".

At another hospital in the capital, questions were raised about whether low oxygen supplies had caused deaths.

The United States said it was deeply concerned by the massive surge in coronavirus cases in India and was racing to send aid to India.

"We are running on backup, waiting for supplies since morning", Fortis said.

Some states have blockaded some of the shipments to keep supplies for themselves.

Help and support also appeared to arrive from archrival Pakistan, with politicians, journalists and citizens in the neighboring country expressing support for people in India.

Others said that it could also be a more risky variant of the virus coursing through India.

For the second consecutive day, the country set a global record for daily infections with 332,730. It has opened up the immunisation programme to all adults but faces a shortage.