At least 11 Covid-19 patients die from oxygen shortage in Indian hospital

New Delhi, May 11 (EFE).- At least 11 coronavirus patients died from lack of oxygen in a hospital in southern India, after the tanker bringing medical oxygen was delayed, in what is the latest incident of this type in the country amid an unprecedented health crisis, official sources reported Tuesday.

The incident occurred overnight at the SVR Ruia hospital in Tirupati, in Andhra Pradesh state, when the oxygen supply to Covid-19 patients in the ICU was disrupted for a few minutes, head of district administration, Hari Narayanan, told the media.

“Due to oxygen pressure issues, 11 patients who were on ventilator support lost their lives. This happened in a span of five minutes. The oxygen tanker arrived and the situation was quickly brought under control,” explained Narayanan.

While the oxygen tanker – coming from Chennai, a city 130 kilometers (81 miles) away – was delayed, the hospital tried to use oxygen cylinders to make up for the shortage, according to the local newspaper The New Indian Express.

“There is no issue now and there is no need to worry. Everyone is safe,” said Narayanan. A second oxygen tanker was expected to arrive soon at the 700-bed hospital.

Images of the tragedy soon began to flood social media, showing family members and doctors trying to keep patients alive, while vetilators were beeping and showing a red light indicating a lack of oxygen.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed his regret and ordered an investigation into the incident, while directing local authorities to actively monitor oxygen supply to hospitals.

India, which has become the global epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 300,000 daily cases and almost 4,000 deaths on a regular basis, has been suffering from severe oxygen supply problems for more than a month, prompting the country to seek international emergency assistance.

The South Asian country on Tuesday recorded a dip in cases for the second straight day with 329,942 fresh infections, marking a drop of over 36,000 from the previous day.

India, with around 23 million total confirmed cases, remains the world’s second most affected country by the coronavirus, behind the United States.

The number of Covid-19 deaths reported, however, a slight increase with 3,876 fatalities, taking the total to 249,992 since the start of the pandemic, according to health ministry data.

Meanwhile, the number of PCR tests for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections remained at 1.4 million, one of the lowest since early May.

The rate of vaccinations picked up again to more than 2.5 million doses in the last 24 hours, following a significant drop the previous day.

Since the start of the vaccination campaign in January, India has administered 173 million doses of either Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, or the indigenous Covaxin.

Besides the two vaccines manufactured in India, the country has also granted approval to Russia’s Sputnik V, which is expected to be made available in the market in the coming weeks.

However, it remains far from the government target of inoculating 300 million people by July, owing to a shortage of vaccines. EFE


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