Delhi continues to receive less than the Supreme Court-mandated supply of oxygen – 700 metric tonnes per day – from the centre despite warnings of being in contempt of the court’s orders.
The national capital received only 499 MT on Saturday, according to an oxygen bulletin released by the Delhi government this evening.
Over the past seven days Delhi received an average of 533 MT per day – or 76 per cent of the directed amount – except for May 5, when the centre sent 730 MT.
On Saturday four hospitals and medical facilities in Delhi – with 1,271 beds between them – sent out oxygen red flag; the state government supplied them with 15.5 MT, the state government said.
Delhi’s oxygen bulletin for 8th of May 2021 pic.twitter.com/JPo2hFMNMe
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) May 9, 2021
India has reported over four lakh new coronavirus cases in each of the past four days, and over three lakh a day since April 22. Active Covid cases are over 37 lakh – nearly four times the previous high.
This evening Delhi recorded 13,336 new cases in the past 24 hours – its lowest daily figure since April 12. However, the drop in testing rates has raised eyebrows.
Earlier today Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered an extension of the lockdown; he said the new lockdown would be stricter because the city “can’t afford leniency”.
The avalanche of cases has left healthcare systems in Delhi and other parts on the brink of collapse and, on Saturday, drew a scathing editorial from international medical journal The Lancet.
Oxygen is a crucial resource because more patients are suffering from breathlessness in this wave.
An irritated Supreme Court on Thursday made it clear to the centre that Delhi had to receive its allocation; the court had said: “You will have to give 700 tonnes to Delhi (700 tonnes dena hi padega)… (and) the centre continues to be in contempt for not supplying…”
Also on Saturday, a 12-member National Task Force was set up to assess availability and distribution of medical oxygen – on scientific, rational and equitable basis – across India.
The centre has insisted this is a transportation problem rather than one of supply. Last week it said there was enough medical oxygen and the challenge was moving it to high-demand areas.