Coronavirus | Panic-stricken residents in Virudhunagar buy oxygen cylinders at exorbitant rates

A view of oxygen cylinders in Chennai. Photograph used for representational purposes only   | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

A section of people from across the State have started stocking up on oxygen cylinders, apprehending its shortage in case of emergencies, according to officials in Virudhunagar.

“The visuals of long queues for oxygen cylinders in North India and the news of deaths of patients in hospitals that run out of oxygen supply has created a massive fear among the people,” said a senior official.

Citing information about marketing of home-delivery of oxygen cylinders going viral on social media, the health official said that many affluent and upper middle class residents have bought cylinders at exorbitant rates. “While one cylinder costs only ₹3,000 in normal times, people have bought them for as high as Rs. 30,000,” another official in the district said.

During a review of oxygen supply in hospitals held on Tuesday, the issue came up for discussion. Some of the oxygen suppliers were complaining about shortage of cylinders for refilling and supplying them to hospitals on time, as a chunk of cylinders were at various people’s homes.

Meanwhile, a doctor said that many COVID-19 patients coming to hospitals were demanding oxygen supply out of fear. “Our explanation that oxygen was not required for all patients and only those who had higher degree of lung involvement need it, is not accepted,” he added.

While all attempts to create awareness on the importance of wearing masks and maintaining physical distance has not fully reached the people, the news bulletins of shortage of oxygen and Remdesivir in various parts of the country has made the people aware of their importance. “Even asymptomatic patients want to be admitted in hospitals at least for a day before getting shifted to Covid care centres,” the senior official said.

A doctor said that some of the patients were complaining that they were being discriminated against by the hospital authorities in administering Remdesivir injection. “One patient complained that the injection brought out from the refrigerator was not administered to him but given to his neighbour. Our doctors are finding it hard to convince patients on this aspect,” he added.

Meanwhile, Virudhunagar Collector, R. Kannan, said that though the demand for oxygen had increased in recent times, there was no delay in its replenishment.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 4:36:15 AM |

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