New Delhi (AFP) – Injuries in India hit another dismal record on Thursday as demand for medical oxygen increased seven-fold and the government denied that the distribution of life-saving supplies from abroad had slowed.
The number of new confirmed cases surpassed 400,000 for the second time since the devastating increase began last month. 4,122,262 cases in India resulted in more than 21 million. The Ministry of Health also reported 3,980 deaths during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 230,168. Experts believe that both numbers are significant.
The Times of India reported that 11 patients with COVID-19 died when pressure in the oxygen line suddenly dropped at Government Medical College Hospital in the city of Chingalpet, southern India, on Wednesday evening, possibly due to valve malfunction.
Hospital authorities said they repaired the pipeline last week, but oxygen consumption has doubled since then.
A government official said the demand for oxygen in hospitals has increased seven times since last month as India has raced to build large oxygen plants and transport tankers of refrigerants, cylinders and liquid oxygen. India set up a sea bridge on Tuesday to transport oxygen tankers from Bahrain and Kuwait to the Persian Gulf, officials said.
Most of the hospitals in India are not equipped with independent factories that directly produce oxygen for patients, and as a result, hospitals usually rely on liquid oxygen, which can be stored in cylinders and transported in cryogenic tanks. However, amid the rally, stocks in the hardest hit places such as New Delhi were critically short.
Health Minister Harsh Vardan said India has a lot of liquid oxygen but is facing restrictions on its ability to transport it. Most of the oxygen is produced in the eastern parts of India, while the demand has increased in the northern and western parts.
Vijay Raghavan, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said this phase of the epidemic was “a very critical period for the country.”
The United States, Britain, Germany and many other countries are working to speed up treatments, rapid virus and oxygen testing, and materials to boost domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines to relieve pressure on the fragile health infrastructure.
Vaccine production in India is expected to be boosted with support from the United States to waive intellectual property protection for COVID-19 vaccines.
Daniel B. Smith, the chief diplomat at the embassy in New Delhi, said the vaccine components coming from the United States to India will enable the production of 20 million doses of AstraZeneca.
Last month, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of India’s Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine producer, appealed to President Joe Biden to lift the ban on the export of raw materials from the United States, which he said has affected the production of COVID-19 rounds. . .
Meanwhile, the government described Indian media reports as “completely misleading” as it took seven days to find a measure to distribute urgent medical supplies that began arriving on April 25.
The sad explanation is that a simplified and systematic mechanism has been put in place to allocate the supplies that India receives for efficient distribution. She added that the Indian Red Cross is participating in distributing supplies from abroad.
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