Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed grief over the death of at least 22 COVID-19 patients at a civic-run hospital in Nashik after the oxygen supply was interrupted due to a leakage in the storage plant.
Describing the tragedy as heart-wrenching, PM Modi said he was anguished by the loss of lives. In a tweet in Marathi, he wrote, "The tragedy at a hospital in Nashik because of oxygen tank leakage is heart-wrenching. Anguished by the loss of lives due to it. Condolences to the bereaved families in this sad hour."
The tragedy took place in the Dr. Zakir Hussain Hospital run by the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled NMC, which is among the biggest civic bodies and one of the worst COVID-19 hotspots in the state. Following certain technical issues which caused a variation in the pressure of the oxygen being administered in the ward, 22 patients gasped for breath and succumbed on the ventilator beds. A senior civic official said of the 150 patients admitted to the hospital, 23 were on ventilator support at the time of the incident while the rest were on oxygen support.
"As per the current information, 22 people have died due to the interrupted supply of oxygen at the Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital. The patients were on ventilators as well as on oxygen supply, which got interrupted after the leakage in the oxygen supply tank," district collector Suraj Mandhare said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced Rs 5 lakhs ex-gratia for kin of the deceased. According to a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office, a high-level inquiry has been ordered to probe the Nashik incident.
"The COVID-19 crisis has plunged the country into a vicious cycle. Overall, there is a battle going on against the virus, where there is no oxygen, where there are no medicines, where there are no beds. Due to this, patients are dying," Thackeray said. "The news of the accident of oxygen leakage in Nashik Municipal Hospital is shocking, it is moving. An oxygen tank leak killed 22 patients. I have no words to express this grief," he added.
The Chief Minister further said that the incident will be investigated in depth. "Whoever is responsible for this accident, he will not be spared, but no one should politicize this unfortunate incident. This is an attack on the whole of Maharashtra. The whole of Maharashtra is in mourning over the tragedy in Nashik," he added.