NEW DELHI: No state or Union Territory had reported any death due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre on Tuesday informed the Rajya Sabha.
In response to an unstarred question by Congress MP K C Venugopal if a large number of patients died on roads and hospitals due to acute shortage of oxygen, Minister of State for Health Bharati, Pravin Pawar said although health is a state subject, all states report cases and deaths to the ministry on a regular basis, as per guidelines for reporting deaths. “No deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states/UTs,” said the minister in her written response.
However, the government admitted that due to the unprecedented surge in demand of medical oxygen during the second wave, it had to step in to facilitate equitable distribution to the states. The demand during the second wave peaked to nearly 9,000 MT as compared to 3,095 MT during the first wave.
The health ministry stressed that the Centre supported the states and UTs by undertaking a series of actions, including provisioning oxygen and other consumables to ensure clinical care of Covid-19.
Venugopal, at a press conference, charged the government with “misleading” Parliament. “The government has given a reply that nobody in the country died due to oxygen shortage. In every state we saw how many patients died due to lack of oxygen. The minister misled the house. We will move a privilege motion against that minister,” he said.