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'Storm of COVID cases' has India gasping for oxygen

Nation diverts crucial gas from industrial use to meet surging demand in hospitals

A notice at a Delhi hospital on April 22 relays the grim news that oxygen supplies at the facility are exhausted, despite government pledges to divert the gas from industry.    © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Overwhelmed by a "storm" of Covid-19 cases, India is scrambling to tackle an acute shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds as daily infections break global records and breach the grim milestone of 300,000.

Max Healthcare, which runs a chain of hospitals in northern and western India, sent out an SOS Friday morning that less than an hour's supply of oxygen was left at its facility in the south of Delhi. "Awaiting promised fresh supplies from [the supplier] INOX since 1 a.m.," it tweeted, adding that more than 700 patients needed immediate assistance.

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