Amidst a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases which is frightening, to say the least, Delhi is still facing an acute shortage of oxygen and ICU beds. The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a press conference on Thursday to apprise the public of the COVID-19 situation in the state and emphasised the fact that hospitals in the national capital needed more oxygen cylinders and ICU beds.

“Delhi is facing Oxygen crisis for past few days. Centre fixes Oxygen quota for all states. As per Delhi govt’s estimate, the UT needs 700 tons/day, Centre had fixed it to 378 tons earlier & increased it to 480 tons y’day. We need more but we’re thankful to them for this,” Kejriwal said.

“Centre also allots companies that will supply oxygen to a particular state. Delhi doesn’t produce Oxygen, supply here is done by other states…Some of the Govts, in whose states these companies are, had stopped the supply that was to come to Delhi from these companies,” he added.

Even though the situation is still grim, Kejriwal still thanked the Centre helping out in the distribution of oxygen cylinders in the last couple of days.

“I would like to thank Centre & Delhi High Court that they helped us a lot in last 2-3 days. Due to this, Oxygen has started reaching Delhi,” he said.

Further Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain shed light on the issue of shortage of oxygen supply in certain hospitals.

“Situation is different in different hospitals; 6 hours in some, 8 in others 10 in some others. We can’t call this a comfortable situation,” Jain said.

Moreover, Jain said that there was a crisis of ICU beds.

“There is a crisis of ICU beds. We have made a request to the Centre, I think they will give us 700-800 ICU beds soon. We have demanded 7000 beds in Central government-run hospitals, they have given us around 2000,” he said.

Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, concerns over oxygen supply for coronavirus patients continued in the national capital on Tuesday, with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia flagging the urgent need in both government and private hospitals across the city.

Sisodia, who is also Delhi`s nodal minister for Covid-19 management, said he is getting calls from all several hospitals regarding shortage of oxygen and many of them need supplies immediately.

As the country’s national capital gasps for oxygen the second day in a row, the Centre announced on Wednesday to supply 480 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen to Delhi.

The supply would be fulfilled by oxygen plants from states like Odisha, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh, officials said.

But the development has only brought a momentary respite to the city. The officials said that more than 20 percent of the Oxygen supply to Delhi from its quota will take three days to reach the hospitals.

“It is a matter of grave concern this is happening when only a few hours of oxygen remain with several hospitals,” a senior government official said.

The Kejriwal government is worried that with the alarming surge in Covid-19 cases, if the remaining oxygen gets depleted in these hospitals, Delhi is staring at a catastrophe waiting to unfold.

(With agency inputs)