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India's West Bengal chief minister warns of oxygen supply shortage amid COVID-19 surge

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:03, May 08, 2021

NEW DELHI, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Chief Minister of India's West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting the shortage of oxygen supply in the eastern state, officials said Friday.

Banerjee urged the federal government to allocate oxygen supply to her state.

"Consumption of medical oxygen is increasing rapidly due to increase in COVID-19 positive cases. It has gone up to 470 matric tons (MT) per day in the last 24 hours and expected to increase to 550 MT in the next seven to eight days," Banerjee wrote to Modi.

The Chief Minister said the state's chief secretary had already raised this issue with senior federal government officials, including the federal health secretary.

Reports said West Bengal produces around 560 MT of medical oxygen, of which it is currently using only 470 MT.

Given the spike in COVID-19 cases, Banerjee said "anything less than 550 MT per day will adversely affect the situation" and "may lead to loss of lives" in the state.

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in the state especially after the recently held elections.

India's health ministry said on Friday morning that West Bengal recorded 18,431 positive cases and 117 related deaths in the past 24 hours.

India has been hit by a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The ministry said 414,188 new cases and 3,915 related deaths were registered in the past 24 hours across the country.

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