Hospitals in India Battle Oxygen Scarcity as it Sees a Worrying Uptick in Coronavirus Cases

As the economy reopens, states in India are witnessing an uptick in infections. Hospitals in India battle oxygen scarcity as demand for liquid oxygen rises exponentially.

Rise in Demand for Oxygen Amid a Surge in Cases

As people return to work amid eased restrictions, India’s caseload becomes the second-highest in the world. Recording over 90,000 cases per day, the country is currently facing a scarcity of oxygen. The data obtained from All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association confirms that the demand for oxygen in hospitals has increased to 2,700 tonnes daily from 750 tonnes in April.

Besides, the demand has also shot up owing to the resumption of factory activities. All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association president, Saket Tikku stated that 45% of oxygen produced is going to industries and the rest to hospitals. Further, he explained that it is a difficult situation as the association cannot choose one over the other.

Black Marketing and Transportation Problems

Mr Tikku further explained the problems of rising black marketing owing to price control by the government. He mentions that while the government has capped the price of oxygen cylinders, it has left the prices of liquid oxygen unattended. Also, carrying oxygen to far-flung districts which are seeing a surge in cases is a challenge due to the limited number (1500) of trucks with cryogenic tanks.

Hospitals Overwhelmed with COVID Cases.

Several dealers across the country are complaining of stalled oxygen supply from plants. Piyush, who runs an oxygen refilling company in Chindwara, said that oxygen demand has gone up by four times. Likewise, Mr Sethia’s SS Hospital and Research Centre in Bhiwandi are also struggling to get oxygen. Similarly, AIIMS Rajasthan has run out of its supplies as patients continue to pour in. Moreover, Private hospitals have informed that they may have to stop taking in patients if the situation of oxygen paucity remains this grim.

In all, the suppliers and hospital authorities have asked the government to solve the oxygen crisis immediately.

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