Editorial: Life support

In a timely observation, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday said sufficient oxygen was not being supplied to Covid-19 patients in the national capital and asked the Union government if it can be diverted from industries which can wait for now.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said to the Centre: “Industries can wait. Patients cannot. Human lives are at stake.” The court said it has heard that doctors at Ganga Ram Hospital were being forced to reduce oxygen being given to Covid-19 patients admitted there as there was scarcity of oxygen.

“Which are these industries whose supplies of oxygen cannot be curtailed,” the bench asked the Union government standing counsel Monika Arora and asked her to take instructions on what all can be done to augment the oxygen supply to Covid-19 patients. With the direction, the court said it will hear the matter post lunch.

The direction came during hearing of a disposed of petition, related to Covid-19 tests, that the high court revived on April 19 by noting that the virus has raised its ‘ugly head’ once again and the pandemic is raging with much greater intensity and “it is evident that the healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse”.

The observation has come at a time when it is being claimed that many hospitals are running out of oxygen. Amid spiralling coronavirus cases in the country, the demand for medical oxygen in the country has gone through the roof.

With a shortage of oxygen production units, the Centre has banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes from 22 April, according to an order issued on Sunday from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Meanwhile, the Railways will run ‘Oxygen Express’ over the next few days to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country, the national transporter said. Let saving lives be the priority of each and every stakeholder.


NT Bureau