As the health system crumbled under the strain of an unforeseen increase in the number of Covid patients needing oxygen or ICU help, many hospitals in Delhi made urgent calls to officials to restock their oxygen supplies, risking lives. Delhi government has already an SOS system in place but many hospitals and doctors argued that this system didn’t meet their full oxygen demand.

The Delhi High Court on Monday has begun hearings on the availability of oxygen in Delhi hospitals and related issues. Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, informed the court that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has written to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh requesting Army assistance in handling COVID-19.

Earlier the Delhi High Court ordered the Delhi government to establish its own oxygen plant, stating that a reliable and fully allocated supply of oxygen to Delhi would solve many problems, However, there is not much progress recorded in this regard. Delhi sure gets its first covid centre with an oxygen plant at the Commonwealth Games village Covid centre, a plant capable of producing about 1,500 litres of oxygen.

In the last 24 hours, Delhi received 454 metric tonnes of oxygen, compared to its raised allocation of 590 metric tonnes. This isn’t even close to meeting the prior quota of 490 metric tonnes. In addition, to facilitate the addition of 1,200 intensive care units and 15,000 oxygen beds, the Delhi government has demanded 976 MT of medical oxygen.

The Supreme court has directed the central government to ensure the full supply of oxygen to Delhi by midnight of May 3. Court also ordered the government to collaborate with state governments to develop an emergency oxygen buffer stock and decentralise the locations of these reserves. In the last ten days, oxygen shortage has directly resulted in the deaths of 32 Covid-19 patients in two private hospitals. Dr Aashish Chaudhry, managing director of Aakash healthcare in Dwarka, said that they are not getting the constant supply of oxygen and this does result in the death of patients.

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