Vital medical supplies poured into India on Tuesday as hospitals starved of life-saving oxygen and beds turned away coronavirus patients, while a surge in infections pushed the death toll towards 200,000.
A shipment from Britain, including 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators, arrived in Delhi, said Reuters partner ANI, while France is sending oxygen generators able to provide 250 patients with a year’s worth of the gas, its embassy said.
The first “Oxygen Express” train pulled into the capital, New Delhi, laden with about 70 tonnes of oxygen from an eastern state, but the crisis has not abated in the city of 20 million at the epicentre of the latest wave of infections.
“For seven days, most of us haven’t slept,” said Dr K. Preetham, an administrator at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, adding that the shortage of oxygen was a crucial worry.
“Because of the scarcity, we are forced to put two patients on one cylinder,” he told Reuters.
The World Health Organisation said it was working to deliver 4,000 oxygen concentrators to India, where a “perfect storm” of mass gatherings, more contagious variants and low vaccination rates have sparked the outbreak.
Reuters, 27 April, 2021