Delhi, battling a devastating wave of coronavirus and a recurring, appalling oxygen shortage, recorded its highest ever fatalities over the last 24 hours -- 306 people died as more than 26,000 cases were logged. The total number of fatalities have gone up to 13,193 and the caseload to 9,56,348, of which 91,618 are active cases.
The positivity rate has also gone up -- the current figure is 36.24 per cent.
The national capital has been logging over 25,000 cases for days now. The huge numbers have converted its hospitals to battle zones where for the last three days, doctors have been fighting to save patients amid a massive shortage of beds and most crucially, oxygen.
Outside many hospitals, desperate relatives of patients could be seen waiting, many in tears, appealing for a bed and treatment for their loved ones.
Since Thursday morning, several private hospitals in Delhi said they ran out of oxygen, and two approached the High Court for relief. Late in the evening, the Delhi government listed five hospitals which were completely out of supplies even as other hospitals flagged shortages to the media and on social media.
For more than three days, the national capital has been seeking the central government's help for its beleaguered hospitals.
On Thursday, the High Court ordered the centre to ensure full supply of Delhi's quota of oxygen, through a dedicated corridor and paramilitary forces' protection to tankers.
The centre told the states that there can be no restriction on the movement of oxygen after Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana blamed each other for the oxygen shortage.
The Delhi government has pegged its need at 700 tonnes. Its quota from the centre is 500 tonnes following yesterday's hike. But the state has said accessing the extra oxygen can be a hurdle, with the plants located in Bengal and Odisha. The centre said it will devise a way to transfer the oxygen.
The Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the issue and tagging the skyrocketing Covid cases a "national emergency", asked the centre to frame a "national plan" for it.