The National Human Rights Commission has expressed serious concern about the steep surge in the number of coronavirus cases amid the second wave of the COVID pandemic. With more patients being deprived of access to medical treatment, it warned that the lives of citizens were at high risk.

According to a press release issued by the rights body, recent monitoring has found that the health facilities are crammed with COVID-19 patients and many of them are receiving treatment on the floor and outside the hospitals. Growing pressure of patients has led to acute shortage of life-saving oxygen. Many private hospitals have refused to admit patients, and even if they are admitted, the hospitals charge exorbitant fees.

The NHRC also said that there was black-marketing of essential medical equipment and drugs required for COVID-19 patients.

It warned that infection had spread to the community level due to unchecked inflow of citizens from India. The rights body objected to a recent press release issued by the Ministry of Health and Population, which stated that 'the government was not in a position to provide beds to patients in hospitals'.

"It shows how irresponsible the government is. The government's announcement denying hospital beds to patients has mentally disturbed the citizens," the NHRC said. It also warned that delay in procurement of COVID-19 vaccine was likely to worsen the situation and urged the government to ensure that all citizens were inoculated as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the rights body has urged the government to address all the impacts caused by the pandemic.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 9, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.