onsdag 5. mai 2021

How India descended into Covid-19 chaos

On Monday, a senior official from India's federal government told journalists that there was no shortage of oxygen in Delhi or anywhere else in the country. As he spoke, several small hospitals - only a few miles from where he stood in the capital - were sending out desperate messages about them running out of oxygen, putting patients' lives at risk.

The chief doctor of one of the hospitals - a specialist paediatric facility - told the BBC that "our hearts were in our mouths" because of the risk of children dying. They got supplies just in time, after a local politician intervened. And yet, the federal government has repeatedly insisted that there was no shortage. "We are only facing problems in its transportation," Piyush Goyal, a senior official from India's home ministry, said.

Indeed, it is hospitals which must "ensure judicious use of oxygen as per the guidelines", Mr Goyal continued, leaving doctors baffled. But experts say that the shortage of oxygen is just one of the problems which show the Indian government was "caught sleeping at the wheel", having failed to do enough to stop or minimise the damage of the second wave.