04/23/2021, 14.20
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Maharashtra, blaze in hospital under pressure from Covid: 13 dead

In the country there are more than 300 thousand infections and over 2 thousand deaths from Coronavirus every day. Fatal accidents occur in collapsing healthcare facilities. Criticism of Prime Minister Modi: It's pointless being the pharmacy of the world when you can't heal your own people".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - In India struggling with the exponential growth of deaths and infections from Covid-19 and the absence of oxygen in hospitals, the situation is also worsened by accidents in health facilities under pressure: 13 patients who were in the intensive care unit of the Virar hospital, died in a fire.

Virar is a city in Maharashtra 70 kilometers from Mumbai. The flames broke out at 3 in the morning. “At the time of the accident there were about 90 patients in the facility,” explained Dilip Shah, the managing director of Vijay Vallabh Hospital. From the place of the tragedy came the harrowing images of relatives gathered outside the structure in search of news on the fate of their loved ones.

Maharashtra, the state of Mumbai, is by far the most affected by the pandemic in India and even this new wave is relentless. If yesterday the whole country reached yet another new record of infections and deaths - 333,730 new cases registered, 2,263 deaths -, 67,000 new positives to Covid-19 were registered in Maharashtra. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the people who have contracted the coronavirus here have exceeded 4 million.

The Virar incident follows that of two days ago in Nashik, also in Maharashta, where in another hospital 24 Covid-19 patients died of suffocation due to an oxygen tank failure that left the intensive care unit without supplies with patients attached to artificial ventilators. According to initial investigations, the accident occurred due to the malfunction of a valve while the tank was being refuelled after reaching too low a level. There were 157 patients in the hospital, 61 of whom were connected to oxygen. The survivors are stable, after the oxygen supply was restarted once the fault has been repaired.

Expressing sorrow for the incident, Maharashtra Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray, announced that the families of the victims will receive compensation of 500,000 rupees (6,600 dollars). “For more than a year - added Thackeray - we have been facing the pandemic and all doctors and health personnel have been working day and night to save lives. These incidents must not repeat themselves. The administration will work carefully to prevent incidents like this, which undermine the morale of the healthcare personnel”.

Tragedies don't come by chance.

In an article published on the Bloomberg agency website, Anjani Trivedi denounces: “India has never been prepared for a public health emergency of the scale of Covid-19. No country has. But the government's dislocated priorities have left the nation particularly vulnerable. Public health spending was dismally low to begin with, at just close to 1% of India's gross domestic product. The country ranks 179/189 when it comes to prioritization of healthcare in the government budget. It spends as much as nations like Sierra Leone on a per capita basis A significant amount of the government's health budget is spent on subsidies for private service providers, which does little to build out the country's medical infrastructure needs or further its healthcare goals. It's pointless being the pharmacy of the world when you can't heal your own people”.

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