Hospitals in India are reporting dire oxygen shortages as the country battles a COVID-19 surge, with some saying they have a few hours’ supply left

India coronavirus
A woman is seen on oxygen support while waiting to get tested for COVID-19 at MMG hospital in Ghaziabad, India. Sakib Ali/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
  • Indian hospitals are reporting oxygen shortages, warning that could kill patients.
  • The country is battling a record-breaking COVID-19 surge that’s overwhelming hospitals.
  • Some hospitals say they have hours of oxygen left.
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Hospitals in northern India are reporting oxygen shortages as the country battles a devastating coronavirus surge.

Multiple reports show hospitals warning that they only have a few hours’ left of supply. Some people have also stolen oxygen to try to protect their loved ones.

India on Thursday reported more than 314,000 coronavirus cases within 24 hours, the most ever recorded by a single country. And its total cases are approaching 16 million – the second highest in the world.

A lack of oxygen would mean the country struggles to treat those who are severely ill.

Here are some of the reported problems that hospitals face:

  • Ramanan Laxminarayan, the director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi, said: “There’s no oxygen. A hospital bed is hard to find.”
  • The management of Saroj Super Speciality Hospital in Rohini said on Thursday morning it had just one hour’s worth of oxygen left, the Indian Express reported.
  • The CEO of Shanti Mukund hospital in East Delhi said on Thursday that it only had around 30 minutes of oxygen left for its 110 COVID patients, and that many of them could die.
  • Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in Paschim Vihar warned on Thursday that its oxygen supply would only last for five hours.

Indian Express reporter Mallica Joshi also tweeted a screenshot of a government document showing the oxygen stock status at multiple hospitals as of 12:45 p.m. local time Thursday:

-Mallica Joshi (@mallicajoshi) April 22, 2021

Delhi’s High Court court criticized the central government for its handling of oxygen supplies on Wednesday, and ordered that oxygen be diverted from other industries to treat patients.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the country was facing a coronavirus “storm” overwhelming its health system, and that the country was working to boost oxygen supplies.