Delhi Flags Imminent Oxygen Shortage, Says Extra Quota Needed

The government has made arrangements to scale up the number of beds, turning the Commonwealth Games Village and several schools into Covid treatment facilities with a chunk of oxygen beds.

New Delhi: 

Delhi will face a huge oxygen crisis in the coming days if its stocks are not replenished, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government said today as an unprecedented Covid surge is posing a huge challenge to the healthcare system in the national capital.

The government has made arrangements to scale up the number of beds, turning the Commonwealth Games Village and several schools into Covid treatment facilities with a chunk of oxygen beds.

But the availability of medical oxygen is proving a problem — a situation that’s being reflected in many states.

“We need beds, oxygen supply… ICU beds and oxygen we are trying to arrange,” Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal told reporters after a cabinet meeting today.

Flagging very limited availability of oxygen, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted that the Delhi government has already asked the Centre for help.

“Due to higher consumption than usual, the supply of oxygen allocated to Delhi is falling drastically. Information is being received from some hospitals that they have oxygen stock left only for a very limited time. The Delhi government has asked the Central government to immediately increase the quota of oxygen for Delhi,” read a rough translation of his Hindi tweet.

People who have tried to obtain oxygen cylinders from private suppliers say they are being told that it is out of stock. Many are shelling out thousands to get oxygen from black market.

Twenty-two-year old Shubh Jain, whose grandmother is admitted in the Lok Narayan Jai Prakash hospital, told NDTV: “We could not rent or buy an oxygen cylinder. It is not available anywhere. We tried several suppliers in Daryaganj. All said they are out of stock. They said they import these from outside and there are none available right now. It could take one to two weeks for fresh stocks to arrive”.

Amid an oxygen crunch in many states, including Maharashtra, Union minister Piyush Goyal yesterday said the national oxygen production was at a mathematically startling “110 per cent”.

After days of insisting there is no shortage, the Centre issued its third emergency order in 24 hours on Friday night. The import of 50,000 metric tonnes of oxygen has also been authorised.

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