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NEW DELHI: At least 25 patients succumbed to covid-19 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the national capital over the past 24 hours, due to shortage of medical oxygen.

In a statement issued on Friday, the director medical of the hospital said, “25 sickest patients have died in last 24 hrs at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Oxygen will last another 2 hrs. Ventilators and Bipap not working effectively. Resorting to manual ventiltion in ICUs and ED."

“Major crisis likely. Lives of another 60 sickest patients in peril. Stop catastrophe. Need Oxygen to be airlifted urgently. Governments please help. We have warned," the statement added.

Delhi, among others, is reeling under a severe shortage of medical oxygen amid a surge in covid cases. During the last 24 hours, several hospitals have sent SOS to the central government through social media.

India reported 3,16,000 new infections on Thursday, a single-day record, overwhelming the country’s fragile health care system. Hospitals ran low on oxygen, critically ill patients failed to find hospital beds, key medicines remained in short supply, and crematoriums operated non-stop as bodies piled up.

"Oxygen in store is for 5 hrs for peripheral use till 1 am and lesser for high flow use.Need urgent oxygen supplies. At present 510 covid patients admitted with 142 patients on high flow oxygen support. Hospital is touch with agencies," Sir Ganga Ram hospital had tweeted Thursday evening.

The hospital had pointed out that an oxygen tanker was stuck in Rohini and needed police escort.

The Centre on Thursday directed states to ensure free and smooth movement of oxygen carrying vehicle, without any restrictions, while ensuring inter-city movement as well. The order issued by Ajay Bhalla, secretary, ministry of home affairs, under the stringent Disaster Management Act 2005, follows reports of several states blocking movement and supply of medical oxygen.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting to review oxygen supply and discuss ways to boost availability. Modi maintained the need to fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction.

He also asked ministries to explore innovative ways to increase the production and supply of oxygen.

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