Overwhelmed Indian hospitals turn away patients in COVID-19 'tsunami'

India virus patients suffocate from low oxygen amid surge

India is in the grip of a rampaging second wave of the pandemic, hitting a rate of one Covid-19 death in just under every four minutes in Delhi as the capital's underfunded health system buckles.

The United States said it was deeply concerned by the massive surge in coronavirus cases in India and was racing to send aid to India.

The head gravedigger at New Delhi's largest Muslim cemetery, where 1,000 people have been buried during the pandemic, said more bodies are arriving now than past year.

© Thomson Reuters People with breathing problems arrive to receive oxygen support for free at a Gurudwara (Sikh temple), amidst the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ghaziabad, India, April 24, 2021.

"We believe it is important to work together to identify both bottlenecks in medical supply chains and potential solutions for overcoming these [bottlenecks], and to combat the global pandemic together and expedite ongoing vaccination efforts", the spokesman said.

Family members mourn after Shayam Narayan is declared dead outside the COVID-19 casualty ward, Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, New Delhi, April 23, 2021.

In a sign of the desperation unfolding over the shortages, a high court in Delhi warned Saturday it would "hang" anyone who tries to obstruct the delivery of emergency oxygen supplies, amid evidence that some local authorities were diverting tanks to hospitals in their areas.

"We need to ensure that there are no non-essential activities taking place".

The 346,786 infections over the past day brought India's total past 16 million, behind only the United States.

The newspaper said V.K. Paul, a COVID-19 task force leader, made the presentation during a meeting with Modi and state chief ministers and said the health infrastructure in heavily populated states is not adequate to cope.

"It's not the virus variants and mutations which are a key cause of the current rise in infections", Dr. Anant Bhan, a bioethics and global health expert, tweeted this week.

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Lok Nayak Hospital director Sureshh Kumar said that oxygen will only last for two hours.

One of Delhivery's executives further tweeted that, that the flight will take place most likely on Wednesday and Friday to import oxygen compressors, and that the company is doing this at minimal margins for compressors and other essentials, and have a spare capacity as things stand.

Some states have blockaded some of the shipments to keep supplies for themselves.

When the news anchor asked Bankata what happens when a hospital issues an SOS call as his had done, Bankata replied: "Nothing".

Hours later, the hospital received supplies to run for few hours.

"We are running on backup, waiting for supplies since morning", Fortis said.

The stories are told in social media posts and television footage, showing desperate relatives pleading for oxygen outside hospitals or weeping in the street for loved ones who died waiting for treatment.

Additional medical oxygen has been trucked into the capital from industrial zones in eastern India. Days before, the news agency reported, a minister in Haryana blamed Delhi authorities for looting an oxygen tanker when it was crossing their territory.

Others said that it could also be a more unsafe variant of the virus coursing through the world's second most populous country where people live in close proximity, often six to a room.

She said the government should have used the a year ago, when the virus was more under control, to develop plans to address a surge and "stockpiled medications and developed public-private partnerships to help with manufacturing essential resources in the event of a situation like this". It has opened up the immunization program to all adults but faces a shortage.

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