Oxygen leak kills 22 in Indian hospital as coronavirus infections rise

At least 22 patients died on Wednesday in a hospital in western India after an oxygen supply disruption caused by a leak in the tank, the health minister said, as a national increase in coronavirus cases absorb the gas supply. .

The incident in the city of Nashik, one of the hardest hit areas in India, came after the oxygen tank leaked, said Rajesh Tope, minister of health for Maharashtra, the wealthiest state where the city is located.

“Patients who used ventilators at the hospital in Nashik died,” Tope said in comments on television.

“The leak was detected in the oxygen supply tank for these patients. The interruption of supply could be linked to the death of patients in the hospital.”

The world’s second most populous nation reported 295,041 new infections on Wednesday – the biggest daily increase reported in any country – taking its hospitals to the breaking point, officials said.

Only the United States had a slightly higher increase in one day, from 297,430 cases, in January, although its count has dropped dramatically since then. The 2,023 deaths in India were also the highest in the pandemic.

To increase the sense of alarm, the Serum Institute of India, which makes the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine, said it will be able to increase its monthly production to 100 million doses by July from 60-70 million now, later than your previous late May schedule.

The delay could slow India’s immunization campaign, which the government opened for all adults starting next month to try to contain the second deadly wave.

Hospitals in Delhi, the capital and elsewhere have warned that their supplies of medicinal oxygen given to critically ill patients with COVIOD-19 are dwindling as cases arrive.

Max Healthcare, the largest private health care provider in Delhi and its suburbs, said some of its hospitals had barely two more hours of oxygen left.

“In recent days, the hospital has faced serious difficulties in obtaining adequate and regular supplies of oxygen,” the agency said in a statement.

“Currently, most hospitals in the chain are working with dangerously low levels of oxygen supply, which can lead to a very serious adverse incident with the patient,” said Max.

Television showed images of people with empty oxygen cylinders filling refueling facilities in Uttar Pradesh’s most populous state, as they struggled to rescue injured relatives at the hospital.

The situation was so serious that some people tried to loot an oxygen tank, forcing authorities to tighten security, said the health minister in the northern state of Haryana.

“As of now, I have ordered police protection for all tankers,” Anil Vij told Reuters partner ANI.


Health experts said India had let its guard down when the virus appeared to be under control over the winter, allowing for large gatherings such as weddings and festivals.

India now faces a coronavirus “storm” overwhelming its health care system, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an overnight national speech, adding that officials are working with states and private companies to deliver oxygen at “speed and sensitivity. “.

Modi himself is facing criticism for addressing crowded political rallies for local elections and allowing a religious festival to take place in which millions of people take a ritual bath in the Ganges River, considered sacred by Hindus.

India has so far administered nearly 130 million doses of vaccine, most of the world after the United States and China, but still small in relation to its population of 1.35 billion people. (Http://tmsnrt.rs/3tlH6Gq)

Vaccine doses have already decreased in many states, although inoculations are currently restricted to frontline workers and those over the age of 45.

(Global vaccination tracker: https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/vaccination-rollout-and-access/)

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