Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal today said the city is facing an “acute shortage” of oxygen for Covid patients and alleged that its quota has been diverted to other states.

This came close on the heels of the CM writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to request his help in enhancing the number of hospital beds and ensuring immediate oxygen supply for coronavirus patients in Delhi.

“Del facing acute shortage of oxygen. In view of sharply increasing cases, Del needs much more than normal supply. Rather than increasing supply, our normal supply has been sharply reduced and Delhi’s quota has been diverted to other states. OXYGEN HAS BECOME AN EMERGENCY IN DEL,” Kejriwal tweeted on Sunday evening.

At his online briefing earlier in the day, the CM cited shortage of oxygen at hospitals, particularly private ones, in Delhi. A private hospital in the city closely missed a tragedy Saturday night due to shortage of oxygen, he said.

Kejriwal said Delhi is experiencing a severe shortage of hospital beds and medical grade oxygen in the face of an unprecedented surge in Covid cases in the city over the last several days. The situation is getting more and more grave and disturbing, he pointed out.

“In the last 24 hours, approximately 25,500 cases of Covid-19 have come up. Before that, we had around 24,000 cases, and before that, we had 19,500 cases. Currently, the cases are increasing rapidly. Another concern is that in the last 24 hours, the positivity rate has increased to 30 per cent. It was around 24 per cent the day before,” he said.

Besides writing to the PM to seek the Centre’s help to tackle the unprecedented public health emergency amid the raging new wave of the Covid pandemic in the national capital, the CM spoke to Union home minister Amit Shah earlier in the day, urging the Centre to reserve at last 7000 beds for coronavirus patients of around 10,000 beds available in the central government hospitals in the city. At present, these hospitals have only 1,800 beds meant for Covid patients.

Kejriwal informed the Centre that there was “dire need of beds and oxygen in Delhi”.

He said that apart from the Commonwealth Games Complex, Yamuna Sports Complex and Radha Soami Satsang Beas Centre, beds are being set up in some Delhi schools too. Within two-three days, the Delhi government will set up more than 6,000 oxygen beds and will arrange more high-flow oxygen beds in the city.

“The number of beds reserved for Covid-19 patients is reducing at a fast rate. A large number of patients are being admitted to hospitals daily and we are falling short of ICU beds. In Delhi, we are now left with less than 100 ICU beds. We are falling short of oxygen as well. We have been in touch with the Centre and have asked for aid, which we are getting; and for that, we’d like to thank them,” he said.

Kejriwal also said, “Last evening, I spoke to Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and informed him of our desperate need for beds and oxygen. This morning, I spoke to home minister Amit Shah and appealed to him that we need additional beds. The situation is getting worse each day, and it is crucial that at least 7,000 beds are reserved in the Centre’s hospitals. We also need an immediate supply of oxygen.”

The CM pointed out that most patients need high flow oxygen. Efforts are on to arrange high-flow oxygen for hospitals. The Radha Soami Satsang Beas Centre will be reopened to set up beds for coronavirus patients. Beds are also being set up in many schools that are being attached to hospitals.

Kejriwal said, “Citizens are cooperating with us and following the curfew. Several organisations have come forward to provide us with aid — NGOs, private doctors, religious organisations and social organisations are all helping us. I hope that like the previous waves of Covid-19, we will be able to overcome this fourth wave as well.”

The CM also held a meeting through video-conferencing with the three commissioners of Delhi’s municipal corporations and their mayors to discuss the grim Covid situation. He appealed to all three MCDs to provide more beds to deal with the crisis. Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, health minister Satyendar Jain and the chief secretary also attended the meeting.

The CM also wrote a letter to Union railway and commerce and industries minister Piyush Goyal, urging him to ensure “uninterrupted” supply of 700MT of oxygen on daily basis and restore supply of 140MT of oxygen by a supplier INOX.

The output of INOX, one of the major suppliers to Delhi hospitals, has been “diverted” to other states, which has already started causing “critical shortages” in the city, Kejriwal charged in the letter.

~With inputs from PTI~