06:00 GMT09 May 2021
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    COVID patients in India's capital Delhi are in urgent need of oxygen as the second wave of the virus wreaks havoc in the country, which recorded 314,835 new infections in the last 24 hours, the world's highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic.

    Delhi and the neighbouring Haryana state are vying for oxygen for virus patients as the Supreme Court took a suo moto cognisance of the COVID situation on Thursday, giving it executive power. 

    On the same day, Delhi Chief Arvind Kejriwal sent a tweet about the plight on a COVID patient – who is on oxygen support in hospital – to the Haryana and federal governments, asking them to send O2 to the capital.

    ​The severe shortage of oxygen in hospitals across the country also prompted the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde to say that "India is almost at a point of a national emergency."

    On Thursday, a three-judge bench in the Supreme Court, headed by CJI Justice Bobde, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to draw up a national plan. "We have four issues primarily in mind – supply of oxygen, supply of essential drugs, and manner of vaccination," Bobde said. 

    A day earlier, the Delhi High Court called out the federal government for not sending enough oxygen to hospitals for COVID patients, saying "it seems human life is not important for the state."

    "You are not exploring all avenues to augment oxygen supply. Beg, borrow, or steal," the court told the federal government on Wednesday. 

    Also on Wednesday, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij accused the Delhi government of "looting oxygen tankers from Haryana."

    ​On Thursday, hospitals in Delhi sent desperately appealed for more O2. Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals Dr Sangeeta Reddy tweeted:

    ​Opposition Congress leaders have slammed the government for the O2 shortage. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, general Secretary of Indian National Congress questioned India's oxygen policy in a series of tweets.

    The severe shortage of oxygen in Delhi has forced Delhi Chief Kejriwal to seek help from Haryana Chief Manohar Lal who "assured full support."

    On Thursday, the country reached the grim milestone of recording the world's record daily tally of 314,835 new COVID-19 infections as a second wave of the pandemic sweeps through India. As many as 2,104 virus-related deaths were registered in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said.

    However, the recovery rate of COVID patients has improved as the fatality rate dropped to 1.16 percent. 



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