'Will you ask patients to wait for oxygen?': Delhi High Court slams Centre, says 'lives are at stake'

The Delhi High Court said today that if medication was not being sent to places that needed them, "blood is on their hands". The court was listening to a matter between the Delhi Government and the Central government over the discrimination of resources being sent to the national capital of India. The matter was being heard by a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli.

In its highest single day spike, the city had recorded 32,000 cases on April 19. Amid a massive spike, the High Court also questioned the Centre's distribution policy on oxygen and vaccines.

The Delhi HC said, "If despite having the medication, it is being sent to region A instead of region B which is in need of said medication, then be sure, blood is on their hands."

Yesterday, the Delhi government had alleged in court that it was falling short of oxygen for Covid patients because supplies were being diverted to "one of the largest states" of the country. It did not disclose the names in order to avoid political debates.

The court said centre that enough oxygen was not being supplied to Covid-19 patients in Delhi and questioned whether it could be diverted from industries.

The judges said they had heard doctors at Ganga Ram Hospital were being forced to reduce oxygen being given to Covid patients because of the scarcity.

The centre said oxygen had been banned for industrial use from April 22 on which the high court asked "why wait for April 22? "Why not do it today itself?". It asserted, "Lives are at stake. Are you going to tell patients to wait till April 22 for oxygen?"

In a response, the centre said that only three percent patients needed ICU beds while 24 litres of oxygen was needed for ICU patients, 10 litre for non-ICU beds.

"80 percent cases are mild while 17 per cent are moderate. Only three percent need ICU care," said the Union Health Ministry. It also revealed that 378 MT of oxygen had been given to Delhi while its government had asked for 700 MT.

Arguing over the matter it said, "220 MT are needed for 74,941 cases but we have allotted 378 MT."

The Delhi High Court is hearing a petition that was disposed of earlier but was revived yesterday with the judges noting the virus had raised its "ugly head" once again, that the pandemic is raging with much greater intensity and "it is evident that the healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse".

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