India’s government has been forced to put oxygen tankers on special express trains as major hospitals in New Delhi begged on social media for more supplies to save COVID-19 patients who are struggling to breathe.
The development comes after more than a dozen people died when an oxygen-fed fire ripped through a coronavirus ward in a populous western state. India’s underfunded health system is in tatters as the world’s worst coronavirus surge wears out the nation, which set a global record in daily infections for a second straight day with 332,730.
India has confirmed 16 million cases so far, second only to the United States in a country of nearly 1.4 billion people. India has recorded 2263 deaths in the past 24 hours for a total of 186,920.
The fire in a hospital intensive care unit killed 13 COVID-19 patients in the Virar area on the outskirts of Mumbai early Friday.
The situation is worsening by the day with hospitals taking to social media to plead with the government to replenish their oxygen supplies and threatening to stop admissions of new patients.
A major private hospital chain in the capital, Max Hospital, tweeted that one of its facilities had one hour’s oxygen supply in its system and had been waiting for replenishment since early morning.Two days earlier, they had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court saying they were running out of oxygen, endangering the lives of 400 patients, of which 262 were being treated for COVID-19.
The government started running Oxygen Express trains with tankers to meet the shortage at hospitals.