New Delhi (AP) – As Indian hospitals struggle to provide a stable supply of oxygen and more COVID-19 patients die from shortages, a New Delhi court has said it will start punishing government officials for failing to deliver life-saving articles.
On Sunday, India registered a slight decline in new infections by 392,488 from a high of 401,993 in the previous 24 hours. He also reported 3,689 deaths, bringing the total to 215,542. Experts believe that both figures are insufficient.
The government is using the railroad, air force and navy to transfer oxygen tankers to the worst-hit areas, where congested hospitals are unable to cope with the unprecedented surge of patients gasping for air.
The Times of India reported 16 more deaths at two hospitals in southern Andhra Pradesh and six at Gurgaon Hospital on the outskirts of New Delhi due to a lack of oxygen.
As the government could not maintain a stable oxygen supply, several hospital authorities sought judicial intervention in the Indian capital, where the blockade was extended by a week to control the tide of infections.
“The water is over your head. That’s enough,” the New Delhi Supreme Court said, adding that it would start punishing government officials if oxygen supplies distributed to hospitals were not delivered.
“We can’t kill people,” Judges Vipin Sangi and Rekha Patil said.
The court said it would initiate a contempt procedure.
New Delhi recorded 412 deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest since the pandemic began.
The military has opened its civilian hospitals in a desperate attempt to deal with the huge humanitarian crisis. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has also given the army urgent financial powers to set up new quarantine facilities and hospitals and purchase equipment.
The military has also called in 600 doctors who have retired in the past few years. The navy has deployed 200 nurses in civilian hospitals, a government statement said.
On Saturday, India said all adults aged 18 and over could receive photos. As of January, nearly 10% of Indians have received a single dose, but only about 1.5% have received both, even though the country is one of the world’s largest producers of vaccines.
To date, India has given over 156 million doses of vaccines. Some countries have already said they do not have enough for everyone, and even ongoing efforts to inoculate people over the age of 45 are spraying.
The United States, Britain, Germany and several other countries are rushing to India with rapid therapy, rapid virus tests and oxygen, along with some materials needed by India to increase domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines.