The Uttar Pradesh government has said it will carry out an inquiry after the owner of a prominent private hospital in Agra was allegedly caught on audio bragging about how the hospital shut off oxygen supply on April 27 for five minutes in a “mock drill” amid what the owner purportedly claimed was an acute shortage of oxygen at his hospital during a raging Covid surge in the western UP town , and elsewhere in the state.
“We were told that even the Chief Minister cannot get oxygen, so start discharging patients. Modi Nagar is dry. We started counseling families. Some were willing to listen but the others said they would not leave. I said ok let’s do a mock drill. We will find out who will die and who will survive. So we did that at 7 am. A mock drill was done. No one knows. Then we identified 22 patients. We realised they would die. This was done for 5 minutes. They started turning blue,” Arinjay Jain, the owner of Paras Hospital, can be purportedly heard saying in the 1.5-minute audio clip from April 28.
The hospital also has a Covid facility within its premises.
In a statement to the media, Agra District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh claimed there was no death due to lack of oxygen on that day the alleged video was recorded. However, he said a probe would be conducted.
“Initially, there was some panic and shortage but we sorted all that out in 48 hours. In this hospital, there have been seven Covid deaths on the 26th and 27th of April. The hospital also has a lot of other ICU beds. There is no truth that 22 people died but we will carry out an inquiry,” Mr Singh said in a statement.
After the audio clip was widely circulated, the hospital owner indicated that his statements were misinterpreted. “We too had received instructions from the administration for judicious and rational use of oxygen. In the third week of April, we categories our patients into those who were on high flow and those on low flow (of oxygen),” Mr Jain said.
“We had to find out the oxygen dependency of the patients to understand how we can handle the situation if there is an oxygen shortage or if the supply gets over… Mock drill means taking stock of the situation before facing an issue, to understand how to work in emergency. We had categorised the patients…We categorised Covid patients to see which patient needs how much oxygen… Mock drill does not mean switching off a patient’s oxygen. We did not switch off oxygen. I did not clearly say so in the video. I said a mock drill was done at 7 am. In this, 22 patients were segregated.”
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Top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condemned the incident, hitting out at the ruling BJP. “There is a severe shortage of both oxygen and humanity under the BJP rule,” he said in a Hindi tweet, calling for swift action against those responsible for the “dangerous crime”. He also offered his condolences to the families of those who died allegedly due to the oxygen shortage.
Visuals of desperate people lining up outside oxygen plans around the state had hit headlines in April, and many hospitals treating coronavirus patients across Uttar Pradesh had repeatedly complained of oxygen shortages. In most cases, the state government had denied that there was a shortage and claimed all efforts were made to supply oxygen on time. Criminal action was also taken against a Lucknow hospital for allegedly lying about oxygen shortage.
Fresh Weather Update for next 5 days
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday revealed that no heatwave is expected in the country over the next five days. The statement comes as a huge relief for people in large part of India who are reeling under the heat and humidity.
“No Heat Wave Conditions likely over any part of the country during next five days,” the weather agency said in a bulletin on Saturday.
Additionally, the weather department recorded the highest maximum temperature of 44.2 degree Celsius in Ganganagar in west Rajasthan on Saturday.
“The maximum temperatures of more than 40 degree Celsius were recorded at most places over west Rajasthan, at many places over Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, at a few places over and at isolated places over east Rajasthan, Punjab, west Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat,” the IMD said.
Meanwhile, several regions of the country are witnessing a good spell of rainfall. The weather department had earlier said that the Southwest Monsoon has further advanced into the remaining parts of Northwest Bay of Bengal some more parts of Odisha, most parts of West Bengal and some parts of Jharkhand and Bihar.
“Conditions are favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into some more parts of Madhya Pradesh, remaining parts Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar and some parts of east Uttar Pradesh during next 24 hours,” the IMD said.
India reports lowest one-day rise in COVID-19 cases after 71 days
India on Sunday (June 13, 2021) reported its lowest one-day rise in the COVID-19 cases after 71 days. The country recorded 80,834 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, the figures by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed.
India’s active caseload has now declined to 10,26,159, while the weekly positivity rate has dropped to 4.74% and the daily positivity rate stands at 4.25%.
There were also 3,303 coronavirus-related deaths between Saturday and Sunday morning.
So far, there have been 2.94 crore cases and 3.70 lakh fatalities across the country.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also informed that 1,32,062 patients recovered in the last 24 hours. India now has registered 2.80 crore recoveries and the recovery rate has improved to 95.26%.
Meanwhile, more than 25.31 crore coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered across the country.
Several BJP leaders resign from party in Union Territory
After Lakshadweep filmmaker Aisha Sultana was named in a case of sedition and hate speech for her comments criticising Administrator Praful Khoda Patel’s Covid handling, 15 leaders and party workers of the BJP have submitted their resignations to mark their protest. The FIR was filed on the complaint of the BJP’s chief in the union territory.
In a letter signed by 12 leaders and workers to C Abdul Khader Haji, the party’s Lakshadweep chief, they said: “The BJP in Lakshadweep is fully aware of how the present Administrator Patel’s actions are anti-people, anti-democracy and causing extreme suffering among people.”
They reminded Mr Haji of having met Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the issue and “submitting a complaint”. “You also know that several BJP leaders of Lakshadweep have already spoken on the various wrongdoings of the administrator and the district collector,” the letter read.
Backing Aisha Sultana, the leaders further said: “It’s just in the same manner, that Chetlat resident Aisha Sultana also shared her opinion in the media. Based on your complaint to the police, there has been a case registered against Aisha Sultana who, during a discussion, talked about from not having any Covid cases to rampant cases with the arrival of the present Administrator in Lakshadweep and his unscientific, irresponsible decisions.”
“You have filed a false and unjustified complaint against Chetlath sister, and ruining her family and her future. We convey our strong objection and submit our primary membership from BJP,” they said. The letter has been signed by BJP state secretary Abdul Hameed Mullipuzha among others.
Aisha Sultana had, during a news debate on a regional channel, blamed Covid cases in the island on Praful Patel’s decisions and remarked that the Centre had used “bio-weapon” against Lakshadweep. The Administrator has been accused by protesters including Lakshadweep Parliamentarian Mohammed Faizal in the past of doing away with quarantine protocols that were a must for people to enter Lakshadweep.
“Lakshadweep had zero cases of COVID-19. Now it is reporting a daily spike of 100 cases. What the Centre has deployed is a bioweapon. I can say this clearly that the central government has deployed bioweapon,” she had said on a Malayalam TV debate earlier this week.
The comment had BJP workers protesting on the streets; C Abdul Khader Haji, the BJP’s Lakshadweep chief, complained to the police accusing her of “anti-national” comments “tarnishing the patriotic image of the central government”.
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