Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday criticised the Centre for exporting Covid-19 vaccines, saying that a large number of lives could have been saved if the shots had been given to people in the country first, reported PTI.

“It is a heinous crime committed by the central government to sell vaccines to other countries only for its image management at a time when people were dying in our own country,” Sisodia said.

The Delhi deputy chief minister cited a newspaper report that the Centre sold Covid-19 vaccines to 93 countries, of which 60% had controlled their infection rate. Sisodia also said the countries receiving the vaccines had no threat of loss of life.

“Some people in central government would say that we are bound by international treaties,” Sisodia added, according to ANI. “US, France & EU countries also follow these treaties but none of them prioritized other countries. Only we gave vaccines to others when our own people were dying.”

“Was it [export of vaccines to other countries] done just to improve the image of Central government and earn accolades from some other countries,” he asked. “I request central government to vaccinate everyone in the country before exporting vaccines.”

Earlier on Sunday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked the Centre to urge the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to increase their monthly supplies of Covishield and Covaxin to Delhi, the Hindustan Times reported. He added that Delhi would need 83 lakh doses every month to complete vaccination for all within three months.

“Delhi has around 92 lakh people in 18-45 age group,” he said in a letter to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. “I urge you to direct Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to increase their monthly supplies to Delhi to 60 lakh doses per month during May to July 2021.”

Sisodia’s reaction came a day after the Delhi government urged the Centre to increase the Capital’s oxygen supply to 700 metric tonnes. The administration said that the oxygen supplies were depleting since May 5 when the city was provided 730 metric tonnes, reported The Times of India.

Delhi received 488 metric tonnes of medical oxygen on Friday – only about 70% of the existing requirement, the deputy chief minister said.

The national Capital’s healthcare infrastructure has been in shambles ever since the second wave of Covid-19 led to an unprecedented rise in daily infections. Multiple hospitals in the city were forced to approach courts to ensure they received supplies of medical oxygen to save lives of Covid-19 patients.

Due to a surge in Covid-19 infections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced that his administration had decided to extend the lockdown in the Capital till May 17. The chief minister also announced that the Delhi Metro will stop operations from Monday.

These shortages have been routinely reported from all across the country too.

India on Sunday registered 4,03,738 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the tally of infections in the country to 2,22,96,414 since the pandemic broke out last year. The country’s toll climbed by 4,092 deaths to 2,42,362. India now has over 37 lakh active cases and 1,83,17,404 recoveries.

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Covid-19: Delhi extends lockdown, metro services to stop from Monday till May 17