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E.g. IndiaThe coronavirus case load has exceeded 5 million, with several hospitals in the country supplying ample oxygen to treat the thousands of critically ill patients.

Demand in the worst-hit states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh has been more than triple, calling for emergency aid.

“Frustrated patients call me overnight but I don’t know when I will get the stock,” Ishish Sikhesh Patil, an oxygen supplier in the western city of Nasik, told Reuters.

India has the world’s fastest growing coronavirus epidemic and has added the last million infections in just 12 days. The United States is the second largest country in the world with more than 5 million cases.

A worker refills an oxygen cylinder at a hospital in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, on Tuesday.

A worker refills an oxygen cylinder at a hospital in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, on Tuesday. Photo: Adnan Abid / Reuters

Health Ministry official Rajesh Bhushan told reporters that at least 6% of India’s nearly 1 million active cases need oxygen assistance. The supply was adequate but state governments should monitor the use and flag crisis, he said.

“If there is no inventory management, there is a problem at the utility level. Every state should make sure it happens,” Bhushan said.

In the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, the need for oxygen cylinders was five thousand cylinders compared to one thousand in normal times, meanwhile, a Maharashtra official said the state has decided to reduce supplies to neighboring states to meet its growing demand.

Rabindra Khad Patil, a doctor who runs two private hospitals on the outskirts of Mumbai, said his oxygen supplier did not meet at the normal time two days ago.

Patil made erroneous calls to suppliers and then to nearby hospitals and lawyers, knowing that if oxygen did not arrive soon, he would be delayed in several serious cases.

Finally, last midnight, oxygen tanks appeared due to pressure from a government official.

“If they had arrived a few hours late, we could have lost five or six patients,” Patil told Reuters.

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