COVID patients' deaths during second wave not due to oxygen shortage: UP Govttext_fields
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh said that there was no data pointing that deaths of dozens of Covid-19 patients had been caused by lack of access to oxygen supplies during the second wave of the viral pandemic. The reply was made to the legislative council of the state after a question raised Congress member Deepak Singh during the Question Hour.
The government said the death certificates made no mention of 'death due to lack of oxygen' in any of the 22,915 patients that died due to the pandemic. It clarified that oxygen had been brought in from other states whenever a shortage was reported.
Opposition members furiously debated the topic with many of them rejecting the UP government's explanation of Covid deaths including the issue of bodies found floating down rivers and buried in their banks secretly.
Leader of the House Dinesh Sharma said the health minister had answered the questions asked. He said the members of the opposition should acknowledge that major casualties were avoided due to the "promptness" of the Uttar Pradesh government in ensuring medicines and treatment.
Samajwadi Party's (SP) Udayveer Singh pointed out that the government's statement. Ould not hold true since it had taken action against the Paras hospital in an incident where half the patients in a ward had died due to lack of oxygen. Health Minister Pratap Singh retorted that the issue was investigated in the commissioners report which said it was due to a mock drill in the hospital which had cut off the oxygen supply to patients and not a widespread shortage as claimed.
Udayveer Singh objected to the minister's reply saying the "truth will not change" if the government writes "extinct" instead of "death" in the certificate. Deepak also argued whether the letters written by the ministers on lack of oxygen, too, were false.
Reportage on UP's oxygen crisis in the second wave of Covid-19 was extensive, with NDTV running detailed reports on how hospitals in the Meerut district of UP had asked families to arrange for their own oxygen even as COVID cases skyrocketed and deaths soared.
The state has been praised for its handling of the pandemic by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July this year, as he pointed out that it was running the maximum number of tests and vaccinations which helped lower the Covid count.