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Oxygen Leak At Nashik Hospital: Toll Rises To 24, Police File Case Of Culpable Homicide

Divisional Commissioner To Conduct An Inquiry Into The Mishap

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
I am a mumbai based journalist having worked with many daily newspapers.

INDIA. Mumbai: The death toll in the Nashik hospital oxygen leakage incident on Wednesday rose to 24 after two more COVID-19 patients, who were on a ventilator, succumbed in the evening even as Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered an inquiry by the Divisional Commissioner into the mishap.

The dead included 10 women. Most of the deceased were senior citizens. The Nashik police have filed a case of culpable homicide against “unknown persons”. A compensation of Rs 10 lakh (Rs 5 lakh by the Maharashtra government and Rs 5 lakh by the Nashik Municipal Corporation) has been announced for the next of the kin of the deceased.

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About 171 patients were on oxygen in the hospital. Three days before the tragedy, the Union health ministry’s COVID-19 data compiled between March 16 and April 15 from major cities showed Nashik the worst-hit city in the country in terms of cases per million residents.

Divisional Revenue Commissioner Radhakrishna Game, said that a 13 KL (kilolitre) oxygen tank was set up on the premises of the Dr. Zakir Hussain Hospital, located in Nashik’s Dwarka area. A socket of the oxygen storage tank broke and the leakage started. When the hospital staff noticed the leakage around 12.30 pm, they deployed jumbo cylinders to supply oxygen to the patients and started shifting some of the patients.

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The liquid oxygen which was filled in the tank has a temperature of around (minus) 180-degree celsius. There is extreme pressure on the walls of the tank which supplies oxygen to patients on ventilator support. The oxygen level was around 25 percent in the storage tank at the time of the incident. Two oxygen tanks were recently set up at the hospital and the maintenance work was given to a private company, Nashik Municipal Commissioner Kailash Jadhav said.

Explaining the cause behind the deaths, Nashik collector Suraj Mandhre said, “The supply tank that was set up in this hospital started leaking due to cork damage after which the pressure decreased and those on invasive ventilator did not receive adequate oxygen on time.

The new restrictions in Maharashtra

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In the meanwhile, the Maharashtra Government issued a fresh set of restrictions to be enforced in the state from 8 pm on April 22 till 7 am on May 01, 2021. Section 144 has been imposed to prevent gatherings and movement is permitted only for essential purposes.

The restrictions include allowing not over 15% attendance in government and private offices, capping wedding guests at 25  and reserving use of public transport for government personnel, medical professionals, or those in need of medical treatment.

Office Attendance

All Government offices (State, Central, under local authority) to operate only with 15 % attendance except for emergency services directly connected to the management of the COVID 19 pandemic. In the case of Mantralaya, the state government headquarters, and Central Government offices in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the Head of the Department can decide for higher attendance after seeking permission for the same from the CEO of the Maharashtra State Disaster Management Authority. The offices dealing with essential services will run with minimum staff and in no case should exceed 50% of the strength. Attendance of personnel delivering the essential services on the ground should also be minimized but can be extended up to 100% as per the requirements.

Marriage ceremony

The marriage ceremony may be conducted only as a single event in a single hall not extending beyond 2 hours with a maximum of a total of 25 persons attending the same. The family violating the rule will be fined Rs.50000/-. The location which defaults to the restrictions shall be closed till the promulgation of COVID-19 as a disaster remains in force.

Private Passenger Transport

The Private Passenger transport including buses, in cities can ply only for emergency or essential services or valid reasons with driver plus 50% of the seating capacity. Anyone flouting the order shall be punishable by a fine of Rs.10000/-.

Inter-city or inter-district travel private bus operators will be required to restrict the stoppages to a maximum of two in a city. All alighting passengers will be stamped on the hand for 14 days home quarantine, by the operators. Thermal scanners shall be used and anyone with symptoms shall be moved to corona care centres or a hospital. If any operator is found flouting these guidelines, then Disaster Management Authority (DMA) can impose a fine of Rs. 10000/-. Repeated defaults will lead to the cancellation of the license to operate till the end of notification of COVID- 19 as a pandemic.

Public Passenger Transport 

All Government employees (State/ Central/ Local), will be allowed to travel by the Public Passenger Transport (PPT) (local trains, metro, and monorail services, except long-distance trains). The tickets/ passes will be issued based only on the Government issued identity card.

Similarly, all Medical Personnel (Doctors/ paramedics/ lab technicians/ hospital and medical clinic staff, etc) will be allowed to travel by the PPT and Tickets/ passes will be issued based on the identity cards issued by the concerned medical organization. Any persons needing medical treatment or specially-abled persons and one person accompanying the needy will also be allowed to travel by PPT. State government or local government-owned public buses shall ply at 50% of the capacity with no standing passengers.

Case load in Maharashtra

On Wednesday, 67,468 new COVID-19 cases were reported taking the tally to 40,27,827 in Maharashtra. The active cases stood at 6,95,747, 54,985 recoveries, and 568 deaths in the intervening period.

Lockdowns/night curfews in the country

In meanwhile many states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Goa have either imposed lock down or enforced night curfew. Delhi- a complete lockdown till April 26. Rajasthan-a lockdown-like restrictions, Chandigarh- a weekend lockdown from 10 pm on Friday, April 23 till 5 am on Monday, April 26, Uttar Pradesh- a lockdown on all Sundays till May 15, Madhya Pradesh- a lockdown in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, and Gwalior on Sundays till further notice, Karnataka- the night curfew imposed in seven districts, including Bengaluru, Punjab- the night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am till April 30, Uttarakhand- a night curfew from 10.30 pm till 5 am, Haryana- a night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am, Gujarat- a night curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in 20 cities, including Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, Odisha- a night curfew between 10 pm to 5 am in 10 districts, Kerala- restrictions till April 30, Tamil Nadu- Sunday lockdown and night curfew from 10 PM to 4 AM, Chhattisgarh- a lockdown in Sukma and Durg till April 19 and Jammu & Kashmir- a night curfew in eight districts including Jammu and Srinagar.

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