New Delhi: The central government on Tuesday said that no one has died due to a lack of oxygen during the second wave of COVID-19 in the country. However, the government acknowledged that the second wave saw an unprecedented increase in the demand for medical oxygen.
Congress leader KC Venugopal asked the government whether it was true that a large number of COVID-19 patients died on roads and in hospitals due to an acute shortage of oxygen in the second wave.
Responding to this question, Minister of State for Health, Bharti Praveen Pawar said, “Health is a state subject. All States/UTs regularly report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry as per the detailed guidelines for reporting of deaths.
“No death has been reported by the states/UTs, especially due to lack of oxygen,” the junior health minister told the Upper House.
He insisted that there is no report of the state/UT government hiding the death. However, some states have revised their figures based on matching mortality figures.
On the total oxygen demand and total oxygen supplied by the states, the ministry said the supply of medical oxygen to hospitals is determined by the contractual arrangement between the hospital and the concerned medical oxygen supplier.
He said, “However, due to the unprecedented increase in the demand for medical oxygen during the second wave – the demand in the country reached around 9000 MT as against 3095 MT during the first wave. Thereafter the central government had to take steps to facilitate equitable distribution.