At least six patients died in a private hospital in Amritsar on Saturday due to a lack of medical oxygen supply. Out of the six, five of them were COVID-19 patients.

The family members of the victims have alleged that the patients died as there was no oxygen flowing to the ventilators in Neelkanth Multispecialty Hospital.

Meanwhile, the hospital authorities have pinned the blame on the state government, stating that it alerted the administration about the delay in replenishing medical oxygen cylinders and also of running out of its supply with the district authorities.

“We were told by a nodal official of the health department that the priority of supplying oxygen is to the government hospitals. After that the demand from the private hospitals will be met,” a doctor in the hospital said.

“We have been sending appeals repeatedly to the state government. Hospitals where there are no Covid patients, have surplus oxygen supply. Over the last 48 hours, we have used all our resources. We have reached for help to everybody we could. But if the government doesn’t want to help, should private hospitals shut down? Where should we go?” NDTV quoted Dr Sunil Devgan, Managing Director of Neelkanth Hospital as saying.

Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu has launched an investigation into the incident.

Just like many other states, Punjab is facing a severe shortage of medical oxygen required to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, Delhi is also in a dire state as more hospitals continued to send out SOS calls reporting a shortage of medical oxygen and sought help from authorities to ensure supply.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), Batra Hospital, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Fortis Shalimar Bagh, Mata Chanan Devi, Metro Hospital Preet Vihar, and Saroj Hospital made SOS calls about a shortage of medical oxygen.

India has reported 3,46,786 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, setting yet another grim one-day record, taking the overall caseload to 1,62,63,695, according to data from the Union Health Ministry.

(With agency inputs)