Second such incident in Maharashtra state in two days as India posts world record daily cases for a second straight day.
India is reporting record number of coronavirus cases – and deaths – amid an alarming shortage of medical oxygen and beds in its hospitals as a brutal second wave of the virus overwhelms its under-funded, fragile healthcare system.
On Friday, the world’s second-most populous nation reported a single-day high of nearly 332,730 new cases and record 2,263 deaths.
Hospitals across northern and western India, including capital New Delhi, say they are fully occupied and running out of oxygen supplies.
Here are the latest updates:
Patients die as hospitals run out of oxygen
Indian media reports said at least 25 patients have died in the last 24 hours at a hospital in capital New Delhi after they ran out of oxygen supplies.
25 sickest patients have died in last 24 hrs at the hospital. Oxygen will last another 2 hrs. Ventilators & Bipap not working effectively. Need Oxygen to be airlifted urgently. Lives of another 60 sickest patients in peril: Director-Medical, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi
— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2021
Max Healthcare, which runs a network of hospitals in northern and western India, posted an appeal on Twitter for emergency supplies of oxygen at its facility in capital New Delhi.
“SOS – Less than an hour’s Oxygen supplies at Max Smart Hospital & Max Hospital Saket. Awaiting promised fresh supplies from INOX since 1 am,” the company said.
Similar desperate calls from hospitals and ordinary people have been posted on social media for days this week across the country.
World record daily COVID cases for second straight day
India has recorded the world’s highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for a second day in a row, while daily deaths from COVID-19 also jumped by a record.
With 332,730 new cases, India’s total caseload has now passed 16 million. Deaths rose by 2,263 to reach a total of 186,920, according to the health ministry data.
India recorded 314,835 new infections on Thursday, surpassing a record held by the United States in January when it hit 297,430 new cases. The US tally has since fallen.
Fire kills 13 COVID-19 patients in Indian hospital
A fire broke out in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital in western India’s Maharashtra state has killed 13 COVID-19 patients, an official said.
The fire on the second floor of the hospital has been extinguished and some patients requiring oxygen have been moved to nearby hospitals, said Dilip Shah, CEO of Vijay Vallabh hospital in the Virar area, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of Mumbai.
Shah said there are 90 patients in the hospital and the cause of the fire is being investigated.
On Wednesday, 24 COVID-19 patients on ventilators died in a hospital in Nashik, another city in Maharashtra state, when their oxygen supply was interrupted by a leak in a supply line.
Canada bans flights from India, Pakistan
Canada has banned all flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days due to the growing wave of COVID-19 cases in that region, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said.
The ban started late on Thursday, hours after India reported a global record of more than 314,000 new infections in the previous 24 hours. Cargo flights from India and Pakistan will continue.
More than a million people living in Canada have Indian descent, while there are 100,000 Canadians who have Pakistani ancestry.