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India’s top court gives govt till Thursday morning to provide plan on supplying Delhi hospitals with oxygen amid shortages

India’s top court gives govt till Thursday morning to provide plan on supplying Delhi hospitals with oxygen amid shortages
India’s highest court has set a strict deadline for officials to devise a plan for solving the medical oxygen crisis in the capital. A lower court had previously threatened to charge the government with contempt.

The Supreme Court ordered the government to provide a detailed plan by 10:30am local time on Thursday on how it intends to supply Delhi hospitals with much-needed oxygen. The federal government previously told the highest court in the land that it and regional governments were “doing their best” to combat oxygen shortages across the country.

The deadline was set a day after the Delhi High Court sent a contempt notice to the government, demanding that officials appear before the judges and explain why they failed to comply with an earlier order to supply 700 metric tons of medical oxygen per day to Delhi hospitals. 

The judges accused the government of trying to “bury your head in [the] sand like [an] ostrich,” and asked if authorities were “living in an ivory tower.” 

Also on rt.com Grim milestone: India’s Covid-19 cases surpass 20 million as country suffers from medical oxygen shortages

The Supreme Court blocked the lower court’s ruling. “Putting officers in jail will not bring oxygen to the city – let’s ensure lives are saved,” the court said, adding that justices should focus on “problem-solving” at a time of a humanitarian crisis. 

Officials have been trying to tackle the shortages of oxygen – which is used to save Covid-19 patients with breathing difficulties – by ordering oxygen tanks and other equipment from abroad and by rerouting supplies to Delhi and other hard-hit areas.

India became the second country after the US on Tuesday to pass the mark of 20 million coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. The news prompted renewed calls from the opposition to impose a nationwide lockdown. 

The government’s principal scientific adviser, K. Vijay Raghavan, told reporters on Wednesday that a third wave of infections is “inevitable,” given the current dynamic, but it’s not clear when exactly it will hit India. 

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