UJJAIN: Some people, along with members of the Congress, protested at the district hospital in Ujjain city of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, alleging that five members of their families, who were undergoing treatment for coronavirus, died due to lack of oxygen supply there.
These deaths were reported at the hospital located in Madhav Nagar on Wednesday night.
However, talking to PTI, district collector Ashish Singh said there was no problem of oxygen supply at the facility.
"There were 132 coronavirus patients in the hospital and 80 per cent of them are on oxygen support," he added.
There certainly is a shortage of oxygen supply, but we are making it available from different sources, he admitted.
"A patient's relative might have got wrong information that oxygen supply has dried up. Since then, there was this furore," the collector said.
Two patients died on Wednesday and as many on Thursday, he said, adding that they were not coronavirus patients.
"In such a big hospital, deaths occur everyday, but to say that these deaths were caused due to lack of oxygen supply is totally wrong," he added.
Ujjain is the adjoining district of Indore, the worst-hit district in Madhya Pradesh in terms of coronavirus infection cases.
This happened hours after Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan claimed that there was no crisis of medical oxygen supply for coronavirus patients in the state, and that efforts were on to tide over the shortage of injections.
His statement came amid allegations that shortage of these things in the state is leading to the death of coronavirus patients.
"There is no oxygen crisis. I talked to the Gujarat government and the Centre. We are getting additional oxygen from Bhilai. I had a word with Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Tankers started coming today," Chouhan told reporters here.
"At the government level, we decided yesterday to buy injections (remdesivir) which are in shortage. There is a government procedure (to acquire them)," he said.
To ensure that there is no shortage of medicine, steps would be taken, the chief minister added.
He made the statement after a report published in a newsaper claimed that three patients in Sagar and one in Khargone died for want of oxygen in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in a strongly-worded release issued on Thursday evening said, "The deaths reported due to the shortage of oxygen in different districts in the last 24 hours were not natural but it occurred due to the carelessness of the state government."
"It is unfortunate that the chief minister is doing farce of 'Swasthya Agrah' (health request which he did by sitting in a tent for 24 hours beginning Tuesday noon and asking people to adhere to coronavirus protocol), instead of improving health facilities," state CPI(M) secretary Jaswinder Singh alleged.
While the second wave of coronavirus is more severe, the state government, instead of improving health facilities, indulged in spending money in publicity and hypocrisy, thereby putting the lives of the people at risk, he added.
The CPI(M) also alleged that black-marketing of oxygen was happening with the government's patronage.
Singh said that CPI(M)demands that the government should look into improving the health facilities.
The state recorded as many as 4,324 new cases of coronavurus on Thursday, its biggest single-day spike since the pandemic began, which pushed the infection count to 3,22,338, officials said.
This is for the second consecutive day that the number of daily cases in the state remained above the 4,000-mark, they said.
The state's fatality count rose to 4,113 as 27 patients succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours, they added.
A total of 2,296 patients were discharged from hospitals during this period, taking the recovery count to 2,90,165, the health department officials said.
With 898 new cases, Indore's caseload went up to 75,793, while that of Bhopal rose to 55,912 with the addition of 657 cases.
Indore reported four deaths, taking the toll in the district to 985, while the fatality count in Bhopal rose to 643 as two patients succumbed.
There are 6,563 active cases in Indore at present, while Bhopal has 4,839 such cases.
Since March 31, Madhya Pradesh has recorded 26,827 coronavirus cases and 127 fatalities.
With 33,463 tests conducted during the day, the overall test count in the state has reached 66.28 lakh.
The coronavirus figures in MP are as follows: Total number of cases 3,22,338, new cases 4,324, death toll 4,113, recovered 2,90,165, active cases 28,060, number of tests so far 66,28,934.