Kanpur: Family members of COVID-19 patients wait to fill their empty cylinders with medical oxygen outside an oxygen filling center, as demand for the gas rises due to spike in coronavirus cases, in Kanpur, Sunday, April 25, 2021. (PTI Photo/Arun Sharma)(PTI04_25_2021_000060B)
Faced with a severe shortage of oxygen, an aggravating factor in the violent health crisis India is currently experiencing due to an increasingly stubborn coronavirus pandemic, the country has appealed for international assistance. As a neighbor and privileged economic partner, Saudi Arabia has answered the call and sent India no less than 80 tons of oxygen.
The first shipment is currently on its way from Dammam to Mundra. A speed of execution equal to the problem that currently strikes the “subcontinent”. The last figures are, indeed, alarming: on the only day of yesterday, India counted about 350 000 new cases of coronavirus. Enough to saturate all the resuscitation services of the country, as we can see it on the different videos which reach us through our colleagues, as here with this -terrible- report of the BBC.
Across hospitals in India, families are struggling to save their loved ones due to an acute lack of oxygen supply as the country is ravaged by a deadly second wave of Covid-19https://t.co/GVoaD9hgBq pic.twitter.com/pn2DegVPM3
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 22, 2021
Oxygen, taken for granted?
The solution to save lives -besides the fact that it relieves congestion in hospitals where patients even end up sharing beds -, is oxygen. Of course, we breathe it every day without thinking too much about it, since it is very present in the atmosphere. In its absence in its conditioned and medicalized form, however, more than 50 people died in the space of two days in the Indian capital. This is why the Adani group (Indian energy giant) and Linde (English pharmaceutical group) have collaborated with the Indian embassy in Riyadh to set up the transfer of the precious gas. The Indian authorities were also keen to “thank the Saudi Ministry of Health for its help and cooperation“.
In fact, the problem of overcrowding in hospitals is manageable, according to the medical director of the central hospital in Delhi, but the shortage of oxygen is forcing the managers of health centers to under-utilize the infrastructure and make choices between patients to treat.
After the intervention of Saudi Arabia, other deliveries are expected in the coming days, notably from Singapore and… the United Arab Emirates, another Gulf country where the Indian diaspora is well represented.