New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that his administration “won’t let anyone die” of oxygen shortage if it got the earmarked 700 tonnes of supply every day from the central government amid the unprecedented coronavirus crisis that has killed thousands in the capital.
“If we get an adequate supply of oxygen – 700 tonnes – we will be able to set up 9,000-9,500 beds in Delhi. We will be able to create oxygen beds. I assure you that we will not let anyone die to a shortage of oxygen in Delhi,” Mr Kejriwal said at a news briefing.
“For the first time, the Centre has supplied 730 tons of oxygen to Delhi yesterday. Delhi has a consumption of 700 metric tonnes of oxygen on a daily basis. We have been urging the Centre on a regular basis to give us 700 metric tonnes,” he said in the letter in Hindi.
“I request everyone with folded hands to not bring down the supply, we’ll be thankful,” the Delhi CM said.
He requested the prime minister that the national capital should be given this quantity every day.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of Delhiites. I request you that Delhi should be given at least this much of oxygen on a daily basis and there should not be any reduction in this quantity. The whole of Delhi will be grateful to you,” he added.
The central government has been widely chastised for its inability to provide states and territories like Delhi enough medical oxygen that has left hospitals and patients to fend for themselves in a health crisis that has drawn international attention.
Many people have died in ambulances and car parks waiting for a bed or oxygen, while morgues and crematoriums struggle to deal with a seemingly unstoppable flow of bodies.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi government has said it is receiving roughly half the quantity of oxygen it has been officially allocated while neighbouring BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have been prioritised.
“Due to the oxygen crisis, hospitals had to reduce their bed capacity… I request all hospitals to now reinstate their bed capacity. I hope we will receive 700 tonnes of oxygen every day,” Mr Kejriwal said.
Hopes that India’s deadly second wave of COVID-19 was about to peak were swept away on Thursday as it posted record daily infections and deaths and as the virus spread from cities to villages across the nation.
India reported a record 4,12,262 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and a record 3,980 deaths. COVID-19 infections have now surged past 2.1 crore, with deaths at 2,30,168, health ministry data shows.
Government modelling had forecast a peak in second wave infections by Wednesday.
With hospitals scrabbling for beds and oxygen in response to the surge in infections, the World Health Organization said in a weekly report that India accounted for nearly half the coronavirus cases reported worldwide last week and a quarter of the deaths. India has 34.5 crore active cases.