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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Daily Briefing: Oxygen tank leak in Nashik hospital kills 24; Will supply only through govt channels, says Pfizer

In the middle of a deadly second wave that is sweeping across the country, twenty-four Covid-19 patients died at a hospital run by the Nashik Municipal Corporation after oxygen supply was disrupted due to a leakage in the main storage tank.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 22, 2021 8:43:59 am
A look at the top news today, April 22, 2021.

Good morning, 

The Second Wave 

In the middle of a deadly second wave that is sweeping across the country, twenty-four Covid-19 patients died at a hospital run by the Nashik Municipal Corporation after oxygen supply was disrupted due to a leakage in the main storage tank. The 13 kilo litre liquid oxygen tank had been in use only for the last 21 days before a malfunction in one of its valves led to the leak.

# Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court came down heavily on the Centre over the shortages in medical oxygen supply, asking it to “beg, borrow or steal”. “As a state, you cannot say that look we can provide this much and no more, so if people die, let them die…,” the high court said. 

# “These days, I worry whenever the phone rings. Only God knows what request will come…” That was a top BJP office-bearer in a state ruled by the party who says he has been inundated with calls for help for oxygen, a hospital bed or to arrange for a quick test. Over the last few days, many BJP leaders — including MPs  and party office-bearers in several states — told The Indian Express they have received similar calls but they can do little. 

# With 50 per cent vaccines earmarked for sale in the open market, Serum  Institute announced two pricing buckets for Covishield: Rs 400 per dose for states, and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals. But what has rankled the states is the lack of clarity over the criteria for distribution.

# And US Pharma giant Pfizer has decided to supply doses of its Covid-19 vaccine “only through government contracts” in India. This means its vaccine may not be available through private hospitals in the country — unless the Centre or state governments decide to sell doses to these facilities.

Only in the Express 

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres writes on climate action: “Global coal use in electricity generation must fall by 80 per cent below 2010 levels by 2030. This means that developed economies must commit to phasing out coal by 2030; other countries must do this by 2040. There is simply no reason for any new coal plants to be built anywhere.”

Used Oxygen pipe seen on the road outside LNJP Hospital in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

Must Read 

Across West Bengal, the common trope in the elections is the BJP campaigning on the plank of the TMC’s alleged corruption and “violence” of its local leadership. But in Bhatpara, the party’s stronghold since 2019, the roles are reversed. Here, the BJP in 2019 first fielded former TMC MLA Arjun Singh, who listed 24 cases against him in his poll affidavit, including criminal intimidation and murder. Meanwhile, the TMC is talking of a “violence-free campaign”.

The BJP’s promise to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and grant citizenship to undocumented Matuas has been the focus of the conversation surrounding the politically influential community this election season. But some Matuas say they are in a dilemma about opting for citizenship under the law if the Opposition party comes to power.

Brigadier Rashpal Singh Parmar (retd) is another victim of Delhi’s acute shortage of hospital beds amid the recent debilitating surge in coronavirus cases. The retired Army officer succumbed to Covid complications while on his way from Delhi to Chandigarh in search of a hospital bed, after he was denied admission at a number of private hospitals as well as the Army’s Base Hospital in the National Capital. 

The proposed legislation on cryptocurrencies which is likely to ban digital currencies — except the one being mooted by the RBI — is expected to provide an exit window to the existing crypto holders of private entities. An option to provide an exit period of 3-6 months prior to banning the trading, mining and issuing of cryptos has been discussed in inter-ministerial discussions.


In the wake of an alarming surge in Coronavirus cases, the Maharashtra government further tightened restrictions in the state. The new set of curbs will come into effect from Thursday, 8 PM  and will remain in force until 7am on May 1.

With several states announcing that they will provide free Covid-19 vaccines to all adults, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, in a tweet, urged the Centre to introduce the same policy on a national scale. 

Eminent Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh passed away Wednesday morning. He was in home isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 on April 14. Ghosh was 89.

Three employees of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) were allegedly abducted from a rig site in Lakuwa field of Assam’s Sivasagar district. Authorities suspect that the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) (ULFA-I) is behind the abduction.

And Finally 

Just two days after the elites of European club football decided to join a breakaway Super League, to hoard the revenue they think they truly deserve, the grand scheme fell apart after mounting outrage from the football fraternity. We break down how the European Super League unravelled. 

Delhi Confidential: G C Murmu, who is India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), has been appointed as external auditor of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at The Hague. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we discuss the big changes in the government’s vaccine policy, the concerns being raised by Opposition Chief Ministers, and the details of the Nashik oxygen tank leakage tragedy. 

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G, Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi 

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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