Anantapur: In two separate incidents, over 21 COVID-19 patients died allegedly due to oxygen supply failure in Anantapur and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh on 2 May. However, the Andhra Pradesh government denied the deaths were due to shortage or failure of oxygen supply and said they died due to various reasons, including comorbidities.

While 11 patients died at Anantapur government general hospital reportedly due to low pressure in the pipeline, five others died in Kurnool on Saturday night.

The principal secretary (health), Anil Kumar Singhal, said the 11 deaths in Anantapur were due to "various reasons and the deaths were not related to the shortage of oxygen supply". However, the relatives of the deceased said the hospital doctors had themselves confirmed that low pressure in the oxygen supply system had resulted in the deaths.

Mr. Singhal rubbished the allegations and said there was no shortage of oxygen in the hospitals. But following complaints of low pressure, the entire pipeline was thoroughly checked. "Oxygen supply related complaints are being attended to and being sorted out," he added.

Earlier, five COVID-19 patients died at a private hospital in Kurnool allegedly due to shortage of oxygen. Anantapur urban MLA Anantha Venkatarami Reddy who had received several calls from patients complaining about low pressure in oxygen supply said he had raised the issue with the hospital authorities.

The MLA said he had alerted hospital superintendent K.S.S Venkateswara Rao and the resident medical officer about the low pressure of oxygen but they denied it. They corrected themselves only after a series of deaths took place in the evening, he added.

Despite a rising number of deaths, it was only at 7 p.m that joint collector Nishant Kumar and other district officials reached the hospital and tried to fix the oxygen pipeline from the 13kl LMO tank and vaporizers.

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