Free Oxygen in Sikh Temples as India’s COVID Crisis Worsens | News on the coronavirus pandemic

The Gurdwaras of New Delhi and the surrounding area have organized an “oxygen langar” to provide free oxygen to patients who need it.

An acute shortage of medical oxygen has worsened India’s fierce second wave of the coronavirus, with hospitals forced to discharge patients as families scramble to organize oxygen cylinders for loved ones to be treated at home.

Indian social media is teeming with stories of people dying from lack of oxygen, which is sold at huge prices in black markets where a bottle is sold for up to 30 times its actual cost.

In such a scenario, at least two gurdwaras or Sikh temples in and around the capital, New Delhi, have organized an “oxygen langar” to provide free oxygen to COVID-19 patients who need it.

A patient breathes using oxygen provided by a gurdwara or Sikh temple in Ghaziabad [Sajjad Hussain/AFP]

Oxygen therapy is crucial for patients with severe coronavirus suffering from hypoxemia when oxygen levels in the blood are too low.

A gurdwara in the Greater Kailash district of the Indian capital offers a free refill of oxygen cylinders, Indian media reported.

Another gurdwara in Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of New Delhi, has set up a facility in premises where around 80 people can take oxygen at a time.

The gurdwaras have also set up helplines for people in need of oxygen and other medical emergencies.

Sikh temples in the city and other parts of India have also made arrangements for free home delivery of food for those infected with COVID-19.

India on Friday released another daily record increase in coronavirus cases, with 386,452 new infections while deaths from COVID-19 have jumped by 3,498 in the past 24 hours, according to data from the Department of Health.

However, medical experts believe the actual numbers for COVID-19 in the world’s second most populous country could be five to ten times the official tally.

India’s severe medical oxygen supply crisis is expected to ease by mid-May, senior industry executive told Reuters news agency, with production up 25% and infrastructure transport ready to meet strong demand.

A worker has died and at least two were injured after an oxygen cylinder exploded while filling at the Panki Oxygen Filling Plant in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, U.S. northern India earlier Friday, local police told Reuters.

The incident comes a week after at least 22 patients died at a public hospital in Maharashtra state, western India, when their oxygen supply ran out after a tank leaked .

Meanwhile, global aid has started to arrive in India as it struggles to tackle what has been described as a humanitarian disaster.

The first U.S. flight carrying oxygen cylinders, regulators, rapid diagnostic kits, N95 masks and pulse oximeters arrived in the Indian capital on Friday.

The UK, Germany and Russia have also sent urgent medical supplies.

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