On the Delhi government alleging discrimination by the Centre in resources for Covid, the High Court said today that if medication was not being sent to places that needed them, “blood is on their hands”. As the Delhi government said it had logged a record 32,000 cases in a single day yesterday, the High Court also raised questions on the centre’s distribution policy on oxygen and vaccines.
“If despite having the medication, it is being sent to region A instead of region B which is in need of said medication, then be sure, blood is on their hands,” the Delhi High Court said.
Yesterday, the Delhi government had alleged in court that it was falling short of oxygen for Covid patients because supplies were being diverted to “one of the largest states” of the country. Delhi did not take names, saying it could become political.
The High Court told the Centre that enough oxygen was not being supplied to Covid patients in Delhi and questioned whether it could be diverted from industries.
“Industries can wait. Patients cannot. Human lives are at stake,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said to the centre.
The judges said they had heard doctors at Ganga Ram Hospital were being forced to reduce oxygen being given to Covid patients because of the scarcity.
When the Centre said oxygen had been banned for industrial use from April 22 (Thursday), the court asked: “Why not do it today itself? Why wait for April 22? Lives are at stake. Are you going to tell patients to wait till April 22 for oxygen?”
The Centre told the High Court that only three per cent patients needed ICU beds and 24 litres of oxygen was needed for ICU patients, 10 litre for non ICU beds.
“80 per cent cases are mild while 17 per cent are moderate. Only three per cent need ICU care,” said the Union Health Ministry. It also said 378 MT of oxygen had been given to Delhi while its government had asked for 700 MT.
“220 MT are needed for 74,941 cases. But we have allotted 378 MT,” the Centre argued.
The High Court is hearing a petition that was disposed of earlier but was revived yesterday with the judges noting the virus had raised its “ugly head” once again, that the pandemic is raging with much greater intensity and “it is evident that the healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse”.