Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid India: 26 infected patients die in Goa hospital tragedy

Web report/Panaji
Filed on May 12, 2021

The chief minister and health minister have contradicted each other over the cause of the tragedy.

Twenty-six Covid-19 patients died at the Goa Medical College and Hospital in the early hours of Tuesday, but the chief minister and the health minister continue contradicting each other about the cause behind the tragedy.

Vishwajit Rane, the health minister, has sought an investigation by the high court to find out the exact cause. He said the deaths happened between 2am and 6am, but the exact cause is not known.

Chief minister Pramod Sawant said there was no scarcity of oxygen in the state. The delay in providing oxygen to the patients may have been the reason, he said.

However, Rane insisted that there was a shortage of oxygen in Goa. “The high court should investigate the reasons behind these deaths,” he said. “It should also intervene and prepare a white paper on oxygen supply to the GMCH, which would help to set things right.”

According to him, the state-owned hospital needed 1,200 jumbo cylinders of oxygen, but only 400 were supplied.

The chief minister, however, asserted there was no dearth of oxygen in the state. “Doctors are busy treating patients and cannot spend time in arranging for oxygen,” he said. “I will set up mechanism to ensure that oxygen is supplied in time.”

Last week, the high court, which had taken up many public interest litigation cases, had asked for details about oxygen supplies to hospitals.

The Goa government has been criticised for its handling of the Covid crisis. Though the state’s vaccination programme for those in the 18-44 group has not started, chief minister Sawant had said it would be offering ivermectin to all above 18.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist at the World Health Organisation, criticised the government, pointing out that the WHO had recommended against use of the drug, except for clinical trials.

“Safety and efficacy are important when using any drug for a new indication,” she said. “WHO recommends against the use of ivermectin for Covid-19 except within clinical trials.”

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