Health Minister Shri Satyendar Jain on Wednesday completely refuted the claims of the central government about no deaths being recorded because of the lack of oxygen in the entire country during the second COVID-wave via a press conference. The Health Minister told the media that the centre, through the LG, did not let the Delhi Government’s fact-finding Committee function to prevent the real number of deaths that happened because of the lack of oxygen. He further said that the entire country, not just Delhi, saw deaths because of the oxygen crisis and the centre should stop rubbing salt on the wounds of those who lost their kin to the lack of oxygen in the country. He questioned the central government and asked why had the hospitals moved to the high court to get oxygen.
Shri Satyendar Jain said, “When the second wave of COVID came in the months of April-May, there was a huge shortage of oxygen. Many hospitals reported that they were running out of oxygen, which resulted in a lot of deaths, unfortunately. A lot of hospitals moved to the high court and stated they had run out of oxygen; after the intervention of the Supreme Court a lot of lives were saved, especially in Delhi. Had the high court and Supreme Court not got involved then we would have seen a dystopian state of affairs. The media too was reporting on deaths in hospitals due to lack of oxygen. The entire country, not just Delhi, saw deaths due to the lack of oxygen, which was very unfortunate.”.
The Health Minister further said, “to find out the exact number of deaths that happened due to the lack of oxygen, the Delhi Government had constituted a fact-finding committee. The committee would have found out the number of such cases and analysed the data so that the Delhi Government could give their families a compensation of Rs. 5 lacs. The Delhi Government had constituted the first such committee in the country, but the centre, through the LG, dismissed the committee and did not let it function. If the committee was functioning today, we would know the real number of deaths that happened because of this reason. The centre is rubbing salt on the wounds of those who lost their kin to the lack of oxygen. We won’t be surprised if tomorrow the centre says COVID never came to the country.”.
“The COWIN portal where the data is logged, there is no column as such, where the reason behind the death can be recorded; neither does the centre ask for any such data from the state government. Still, the Delhi Government tried to find out the number of such deaths, but the centre did not let us do that. Despite having oxygen in the country, we saw deaths taking place which the centre is not politicising upon,” he added.
The Health Minister further reinforced that it is not viable to open schools until everyone gets vaccinated.