Situation with medical oxygen in Delhi not comfortable, Satyendar Jain warns
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday pointed out the stark deficit of medical oxygen at hospitals in the national capital and said that the current stock of medical oxygen may run out in six to 10 hours, depending on the situation in each hospital.
The minister's statements come amid reports of nationwide shortage in oxygen supply, with hospitals in Delhi warning that their supplies of medical oxygen given to severely ill Covid-19 patients are running low.
With several private and government hospitals in Delhi running low on medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients, the Centre on Wednesday raised the national capital's oxygen quota from 378 metric tonnes to 480 metric tonnes.
A day later, the minister has pointed out that a clear-cut crisis over medical oxygen in the national capital has been there for the last three days. When asked by reporters about the situation of oxygen in hospitals, Jain said, "The situation is different in different hospitals. It's six hours in some, eight in others, and 10 in some others. We cannot call this a comfortable situation."
Amid a shortage of medical oxygen in the national capital, the Delhi health minister pointed out that there is a crisis in ICU beds as well. "There is a crisis of ICU beds. We have made a request to the Centre; I think they will give us 700-800 more ICU beds soon. We have demanded 7,000 beds in the central government-run hospitals, they have given us around 2,000," said Jain.
He said that Delhi's oxygen quota was "less than requirement", following which the Centre increased it on Wednesday. If the crisis is resolved in a day or two, the number of beds will be increased, the minister said.
The Delhi high court had on Wednesday night ordered the Centre to "forthwith" provide oxygen by whatever means to hospitals here facing a shortage of the gas in treating serious Covid-19 patients, observing it “seems human life is not important for the state”.
Several small hospitals in the city were seen on Thursday morning struggling to replenish oxygen supply, even as some big healthcare facilities received fresh stock overnight amid spiralling Covid-19 cases. However, several private hospitals complained that no help has reached them.
Delhi logged 24,638 coronavirus cases and 249 deaths on Wednesday, as the positivity rate stood at 31.28% -- meaning almost every third sample turned out to be positive -- amid a growing clamour for oxygen and hospital beds in the city. Only 18 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients were available in hospitals across Delhi at 11 pm, according to a government data.