Union govt says no state has reported deaths due to oxygen shortage

Photo: Meer Faisal

Few states and union territories have responded to the Centre’s requests to furnish details on COVID-19 mortalities due to oxygen shortage and none of them have reported confirmed deaths due to it, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar informed Parliament said on Friday.

The government maintains data of Covid-19 cases and deaths reported by states and union territories.

Accordingly, the Union government has requested states and union territories to furnish details of suspected deaths due to oxygen shortage, Pawar said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

“Few states and UTs have responded and none of them has reported confirmed death due to oxygen shortage,” the minister said.

There was widespread reportage on deaths owing to the lack of oxygen during the second wave of coronavirus across India.

In last year, the Uttar Pradesh government had claimed that no deaths were reported due to Oxygen shortage in the 2nd wave of the pandemic.

“No death has been reported in the state due to lack of oxygen during the second wave,” UP health minister Jai Pratap Singh said in the Legislative Assembly.

In May last year, strongly criticising the Uttar Pradesh government, the Allahabad High Court said that the death of coronavirus patients due to non supply of oxygen to hospitals is a criminal act and nothing less than genocide.

“Death of Covid patients just for non supplying of oxygen to the hospitals is a criminal act and not less than a genocide by those who have been entrusted the task to ensure continuous procurement of the liquid medical oxygen,” court said.

The court said that the stories which went viral on social media showed poor citizens begging for oxygen cylinders to save the lives of their near and dear ones and harassment meted out to them by the government officials including district administration and police.

“The news was also viralled that five patients had died in ICU of a new trauma centre of Medical College, Meerut on Sunday last. Similarly, news were also being viralled that one Sun Hospital, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow and another private hospital at Meerut had taken their hands off the admitted COVID-19 patients only for the reason that oxygen supply was not made even after demand,” judge said.