Coronavirus: “We’re calling it a wave, it’s a Tsunami”, says Delhi High Court

Multiple funeral pyres of victims of COVID-19 burn at a ground that has been converted into a crematorium for mass cremation in New Delhi, India, on 24 April 2021. Indian authorities are scrambling to get medical oxygen to hospitals where COVID-19 patients are suffocating from low supplies. The effort Saturday comes as the country with the world’s worst coronavirus surge set a new global daily record of infections for the third straight day. The 346,786 infections over the past day brought India’s total past 16 million.

Multiple funeral pyres of victims of COVID-19 burn at a ground that has been converted into a crematorium for mass cremation in New Delhi, India, on 24 April 2021. Indian authorities are scrambling to get medical oxygen to hospitals where COVID-19 patients are suffocating from low supplies. The effort Saturday comes as the country with the world’s worst coronavirus surge set a new global daily record of infections for the third straight day. The 346,786 infections over the past day brought India’s total past 16 million. AP/Altaf Qadri

PTI

NEW DELHI, India, 24 April 2021

The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre about the preparedness to deal with the expected COVID-19 second wave peak in mid-May, terming the massive rise in cases as a “Tsunami”, and warned it will “hang” any person who tries to obstruct oxygen supplies to hospitals.

Talking tough, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, said this during a special hearing on a holiday on the issue of mounting oxygen crisis in various hospitals in Delhi.

The court said the viral disease has a low mortality and those who have a low immunity will eventually die but the problem comes when people who could be saved are also dying. “The mortality rate needs to be reduced.”

Referring to a study by a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, the court noted its assessment that the peak of this Covid wave will come in mid-May.

“We are calling it a wave, it is actually a Tsunami,” the court said, and asked the Centre about the preparedness in terms of infrastructure, hospitals, medical staff, medicines, vaccines and oxygen as on date for the peak.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said there might be a rapid rise in the number of cases in May and June and the country needs to be ready for the worst.

He said the Prime Minister and others are working on it and have decided to import oxygen and are also exploring the remotest possibility of generating oxygen from wherever it is possible.

The court was hearing submissions by the counsel for Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Batra Hospital and Saroj Super Speciality Hospital here over shortage of oxygen for treating seriously-ill Covid patients.

“We will hang that man. We will not spare anyone,” the court said while telling the Delhi government to give one instance of any official at the central, state or local administration obstructing the pickup of oxygen supplies.

The court told the Delhi government to inform the Centre also about such officials of the local administration so that it could take action against them.

It also asked the Centre when the 480 metric tonne (MT) of oxygen per day allocated for Delhi would see the light of the day.

“You (Centre) had assured us (on 21 April) that 480 MT per day will reach Delhi. Tell us when will it come? The 480 MT per day is still to see the light of the day.”

The query came after the Delhi government said it was getting only 380 MT oxygen per day over the past few days and it received only around 300 MT on Friday.

During the hearing, the court also questioned the Delhi government officers as to what endeavour they have made to secure tankers to get the supply of oxygen allocated to it by the Centre.


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