Shortage supply of oxygen to Delhi – where 12 peoples passed on Saturday and 25 a week ago, due to a deficiency set off continuously wave of Covid cases – should be redressed at the latest 12 PM of May 3, the Supreme Court has told the centre.
The top court also directed the centre to work with state governments to create a buffer stock of oxygen to be used for emergency purposes and decentralise locations of these reserves.
The direction on oxygen supply – a detailed 64-page order passed by Justices DY Chandrachud, LN Rao and S Ravindra Bhat, after their hearing on Friday – came as Delhi hospitals, including the Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, keep on conveying distraught SOSs.
Oxygen supply to the national capital has been the focus of expanded hearings in the Delhi High Court also, which, on Saturday, cautioned the centre to ensure the city got its quota.
“Enough is enough. No one is asking for more than allocated. If you can’t supply the allocation today, we will see your explanation on Monday,” the High Court said.
The Arvind Kejriwal government has asked for around 970 metric tonnes of oxygen per day. The centre, however, has only allotted 590 MT (increased from 490 MT on Saturday).
On Friday, when the Supreme Court heard this matter, the centre was told it had a “special responsibility towards Delhi”. The court also warned the Delhi government against “political bickering”.
Delhi on Monday reported over 20,000 new Covid cases and over 400 deaths. The active caseload in the city is now a little over 96,000.
The Supreme Court on Sunday additionally advised the middle to return to the quarrelsome issue of antibody evaluating and accessibility, just as that of oxygen and medications key to treating COVID-19 patients.
The court had said the centre should adopt the national immunisation model for Covid vaccination, and that it could not allow private manufacturers to decide on allocation to states.
“Poor or marginalised sections will not go to the hospital and pay ₹ 600 for vaccines. You should consider all these aspects,” the court told the centre.
The centre has also been given fourteen days to settle a ‘public strategy on admissions to medical clinics.
The court said that till such a policy is outlined no patient can be denied hospitalization, or fundamental medications, or essential drugs, for lack of residential proof. States are bound to follow this policy once it is finalised.
These decisions come after Friday’s hearing on the Covid crisis that has engulfed the country and left an already-battered health infrastructure on the brink of collapse.
On Sunday morning India reported over 3.92 lakh new Covid cases in the previous 24 hours. The active caseload has soared to 33.5 lakh after more than three lakh cases per day for the past week.