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New Dehi: With hospitals overloaded and oxygen supplies running low, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday extended the lockdown by a week.

The lockdown, which was supposed to end on Monday morning, has now been extended by a week to 3 May, Kejriwal said.

Hospitals across Delhi continued to send frantic appeals to the state and central governments through social media for the urgent supply of oxygen. Pentamed Hospital and Jaipur Golden Hospital, where at least 20 patients died as oxygen ran out on Saturday, made frantic appeals for oxygen on Sunday. Even the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, raised alarm as oxygen stocks depleted.

With the situation turning grimmer by the hour, the Delhi government on Sunday started a website for oxygen management to record the status of supply from manufacturers to hospitals every two hours; hospitals will have to give consumption data in the last two hours, and the supplier has to report how much was supplied in that period.

“Though the Centre has increased Delhi’s oxygen quota again from 480 tonnes to 490 tonnes, problems of access remain. Delhi’s requirement is 700 tonnes; what’s reaching us is only 330-335 tonnes," Kejriwal said. “As a result, we are receiving only half of what we require, which is a huge impediment in the recovery of covid patients," he said.

Kejriwal said owing to the rise in covid cases, last week, the Delhi government announced a six-day lockdown.

Lockdown is the last resort in any fight against covid, and Delhi’s situation was such that imposing a lockdown had become necessary, he said, adding that the rise in cases has not come to a halt, and they continue to climb at an alarming rate. Kejriwal said the positivity rate touched 36-37% even during lockdown. Delhi has recorded over 24,000 cases in the past 24 hours.

The chief minister said he has written to all chief ministers for help. “If their state or companies in their state have surplus oxygen, we have requested them to divert it to Delhi. Negotiations are on with some states," Kejriwal said.

Even as several hospitals in the NCR, covering Noida and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and Gurugram and Faridabad in Haryana, faced a shortage of oxygen, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath claimed there is no shortage in any private or public covid hospital. He also said the state will conduct an oxygen audit in collaboration with IIT-Kanpur, IIM-Lucknow and IIT-BHU for proper monitoring of oxygen. Several other states, including Gujarat, Punjab and West Bengal, also faced oxygen scarcity.

At least 349,691 new cases were registered in the past 24 hours in the country. Ten states —Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan—reported 75% of the new cases. Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 67,160, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 37,944 and Karnataka with 29,438 cases.

India’s total active caseload has reached 2.68 million. It now comprises 15.8% of the country’s total positive cases.

Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala cumulatively account for 70% of total active cases.

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