NEW DELHI (AP) – As hospitals in India struggle to ensure a steady supply of oxygen and more COVID-19 patients die amid the shortage, a New Delhi court said it would start punishing government officials for failing to deliver vital items.
India saw a slight drop in new infections on Sunday with 392,488 from a high of 401,993 in the previous 24 hours. It also reported 3,689 more deaths, bringing the total to 215,542. Experts believe both figures are underestimated.
The government has used the railways, air force and navy to transport oxygen tankers to the worst affected areas where overwhelmed hospitals are unable to cope with an unprecedented increase in the number of patients at breathless.
Twelve COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, on high-flow oxygen, died at a New Delhi hospital on Saturday after running out of supplies for 80 minutes, said SCL Gupta, director of the hospital in New Delhi. Batra.
The Times of India newspaper reported 16 more deaths in two hospitals in southern Andhra Pradesh state and six in a hospital in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi due to oxygen scarcity.
With the government unable to maintain a steady supply of oxygen, several hospital authorities have requested court intervention in the Indian capital where a lockdown has been extended for a week to contain the wave of infections.
“The water has gone overhead. Enough is enough,” said the New Delhi High Court, adding that it would start punishing government officials if the oxygen supplies allocated to hospitals did not were not delivered.
“We cannot let people die,” said Judges Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Patil.
The court said it would initiate contempt proceedings.
New Delhi has recorded 412 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest since the start of the pandemic.
The military has opened its hospitals to civilians in a desperate attempt to bring the massive humanitarian crisis under control. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has also given emergency financial powers to the military to set up new quarantine facilities and hospitals and purchase equipment.
The military also called on 600 medics who had retired in recent years. The navy has deployed 200 nursing assistants to civilian hospitals, according to a government statement.
India said on Saturday that all adults 18 and older could get the vaccine. Since January, nearly 10% of Indians have received a dose, but only about 1.5% have received both, despite the country being one of the largest vaccine producers in the world.
India has so far administered more than 156 million doses of the vaccine. Some states have already said they don’t have enough for everyone, and even the ongoing effort to vaccinate people over 45 is spitting up.
The United States, Great Britain, Germany and several other countries are shipping therapies, rapid viral tests and oxygen to India, as well as certain materials needed for India to boost its national production of COVID vaccines -19.