World Indian Officials Deny Withholding Oxygen Supplies Donated From Other Countries
Video of Oxygen Tanker Truck With Police Escort in India Shows Dire COVID Situation in Country
"More precious than gold," wrote the correspondent who posted the video as COVID fatalities continue to skyrocket.The video, posted to Twitter by correspondent Yogita Limaye on Sunday, shows a new common theme in India and portrays how highly valued medical oxygen is as hospitals across the country have experienced a widespread shortage with doctors desperately begging for more supplies, according to the Associated Press.
Government officials in India deny reports that they have been slow to distribute oxygen supplies donated from abroad as the COVID-19 crisis worsens.
The government raised the oxygen supply to 730 tons from 490 tons per day in New Delhi, per the's recent order to provide more medical oxygen to hospitals to hopefully ease the shortage that has crippled the country's health care system, the Associated Press reported.
The pandemic has exposed a shortage of medical oxygen around the world. So what is it? And why is it lacking?
As photos of people waiting in long lines for oxygen canisters attest, supplies of medical oxygen are far from adequate everywhere in the world. So how did we get here? And what's being done?Difficulty breathing is one of the most common severe COVID-19 symptoms.
The court intervened after 12 COVID-19 patients died at New Delhi's Batra Hospital when it ran out of medical oxygen for 80 minutes last week.
The United States, Britain, Germany and several other nations have rushed therapeutics, rapid virus tests, oxygen and materials needed to boost domestic production of vaccines.
The Indian media reported that it took seven days for the government to come up with a procedure for distributing urgent medical supplies that started arriving from overseas on April 25.
The government described these claims as "totally misleading" and said in a statement that a mechanism for allocating supplies received by India has been put in place for effective distribution. The Indian Red Cross Society is involved in distributing the supplies from abroad, it said.
Why is India facing a deadly crunch of oxygen amid COVID surge?
A look at reasons behind shortage of medical oxygen as India’s underfunded healthcare system struggles.Dire oxygen shortages as India battles a ferocious new wave means boom times for profit gougers, although some young volunteers are doing their best to help people on social media.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
On Wednesday night, 11 other COVID-19 patients died when pressure in an oxygen line dropped suddenly at a government medical college hospital in Chengalpet in southern India, possibly because of a faulty valve, the Times of India newspaper reported.
Hospital authorities said they repaired the oxygen line last week, but the consumption of oxygen had doubled since then, the newspaper said.
The number of new confirmed cases in India on Thursday breached 400,000 for the second time since the devastating surge began last month. The 412,262 new cases pushed the country's official tally to more than 21 million. The Health Ministry also reported 3,980 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 230,168. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.
K. Vijay Raghvan, a principal scientific adviser to the government, called the explosion of cases "a very critical time for the country."
Priyanka Chopra appeals for help for India as COVID-19 deaths surge
'People are dying in record numbers. There is illness everywhere, and it's only continuing to spread and kill at great speed and scale,' Priyanka posted to her Instagram.The Indian actress, 38, has partnered with donation platform @GiveIndia to set up a fundraiser #TogetherForIndia and issued an emotional appeal for help on her Instagram.
Demand for hospital oxygen has increased sevenfold since last month, a government official said, as India struggles to set up large oxygen plants and transport oxygen to where it is needed. India on Tuesday started ferrying oxygen tankers from Bahrain and Kuwait in the Persian Gulf, officials said.
Most hospitals in India don't have their own plants that generate oxygen for patients. As a result, hospitals typically rely on liquid oxygen, which can be stored in cylinders and transported in tank trucks. But amid the virus surge, supplies in hard-hit places such as New Delhi have run critically short.
Dr. Himaal Dev, chief of the critical care unit at Apollo Hospital in the southern city of Bengaluru, said COVID-19 patients in ICU wards require at least 10 to 15 liters of oxygen per minute because of their reduced lung function.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said India has enough oxygen but is facing capacity constraints in moving it. Most oxygen is produced in the eastern parts of India while the demand has risen in northern and western parts.
India COVID crisis: ‘Lack of oxygen killed him, not the virus’
Death of a doctor due to oxygen shortage at prominent Delhi hospital underscores India’s unfolding coronavirus crisis.The private hospital in southern Delhi was among several in the Indian capital and across India to sound an alarm over a crippling oxygen shortage as they struggle to cope with patients pouring in, needing ventilators and ICU beds.
The outbreak has been spreading to neighboring countries that share porous borders with India.
In Nepal, thousands of people rushed to leave the country ahead of a halt to all international flights because of spiking COVID-19 cases.
Nepali citizens leaving to report back for jobs in foreign countries or to visit family members and a few foreign tourists lined up at Kathmandu's airport before flights ceased at midnight Thursday. Domestic flights in Nepal have been halted since Monday.
Nepal's main cities and towns have been in lockdown since last month as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths continues to surge. Nepal recorded its highest number of daily infections with 8,659 on Wednesday and 58 deaths, also a record.
In India, Prime Ministerreviewed the coronavirus situation with top officials on Thursday and told them to ramp up the vaccination drive.
The country, with nearly 1.4 billion people, has so far administered 162 million doses but is facing vaccine shortages.
India's vaccine production is expected to get a boost with the United States supporting a waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccine components from the U.S. that have arrived in India will enable the manufacture of 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, said Daniel B. Smith, the senior diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
India Covid aid 'not reaching those in need'
Emergency relief is flowing into India to help stem its Covid-19 crisis, but concerns are mounting about delays in supply.Planeloads of ventilators, medicines and oxygen equipment began pouring into India, from countries including the UK and the US, at the start of last week. By Sunday, some 300 tonnes of supplies on 25 flights had arrived at Delhi International Airport alone.
Last month, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, the world's biggest vaccine maker, appealed to Presidentto lift the embargo on U.S. export of raw materials, which he said was affecting its production of COVID-19 shots.
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Why India needs oxygen more urgently than vaccines .
The biggest problem may not be the supply itself as much as access to it.Last week, Covid-19 became India’s No. 1 killer. One million people in a country with a population of 1.3 billion are predicted to die of Covid-19 by August. As of May 7, 150 people were reportedly dying every hour, and while 29 million have been fully vaccinated there, vaccines are not what is most urgently needed right now.