There has only been a single death in India due to oxygen shortage during the second COVID-19 wave earlier this year, an official from Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
During a press briefing on COVID-19, the ministry’s Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said: "The states were asked about deaths related to oxygen shortage. As per reports so far, one state informed us about a suspected case. All states that sent us reports so far, have not told us that they've specifically reported a death due to (lack of) oxygen”.
The Center had sought data from the states about deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second COVID-19 wave earlier this year, which has to be presented before Parliament in the ongoing Monsoon session.
13 states and Union Territories including Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Sikkim, Tripura, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab had responded to Centre’s query, reported NDTV.
Out of the states, the channel stated Punjab had four suspected deaths sue to oxygen shortage.
Earlier as well, the government had also claimed in Parliament that "no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and Union Territories".
The chaotic scenes were witnessed in India, including its national capital where people were seen gasping for breath. The social media was flooded with SOS calls from relatives of the patients in need of oxygen.
Earlier, the Delhi government said it has not received any letter from the Centre inquiring if any deaths in the national capital occurred due to oxygen shortage during the second Covid wave, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had stated in an online briefing.
Delhi government has not received any letter on oxygen-related deaths. When you (Centre) have not written any letter, how can you say that states are not informing you. We had formed an inquiry committee but you did not allow it (probe) to happen through Delhi LG,” Sisodia said.