NEW DELHI: The Central government has written to States/Union Territories seeking data on deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of COVID-19, according to government sources. This data is likely to be presented in the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament, they added.
"The Centre has written to States for data on deaths related to oxygen shortage. The data is likely to be presented in Parliament before the Monsoon Session ends on August 13," sources told ANI.
This comes after much backlash from the Opposition parties which hit out at the Central government over the claim that no deaths due to lack of oxygen had been specifically reported by states and Union Territories during the second COVID-19 wave.
The Centre, while responding to a question by Congress MP KC Venugopal, had on July 20 told the Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen had been specifically reported by states and Union Territories during the second COVID wave.
In the written reply, Minister of State for Health Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar stated that health is a state subject and accordingly all states, UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis.
The government's reply comes in the aftermath of the devastating second COVID-19 wave that overwhelmed the country's healthcare infrastructure and resulted in thousands of deaths daily. COVID-19 cases surged dangerously from April to June and peaked in May with over 4-lakh cases and 4,000 deaths.
Hospitals across the country reported severe oxygen shortages for several days and private hospitals in the national capital approached the High Court demanding a steady supply. Several hospital administrations in different states have alleged that the shortage of oxygen resulted in the death of several patients.