Pramod Sawant.. Image Source: IANS News

Panaji, May 15 : Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Saturday dodged questions related to the scores of deaths at the Goa Medical College (GMC), even as Dr. Shivanand Bandekar, dean of the apex institute claimed that it was difficult to pinpoint oxygen shortage as the cause of the deaths.

"We cannot put this as a direct answer. People who come to GMC are all referred cases, because we are a tertiary health centre. Their (patients) criticality is high and most of the patients die because of Covid pneumonia, where oxygen is part of the treatment. We cannot directly say that this is the reason why they have died," Bandekar said, adding that several patients who were admitted to the hospital had high CT severity score.

Bandekar also disputed that 75 Covid patients had died in four nights at the facility between 2 am to 6 am, claiming deaths occurred through the day.

"If you see our timings and mortality bulletins that we publish. It is not foolproof to say (that patients died of oxygen shortage). Someone was saying 2 am to 6 am more deaths. I do not believe that. Deaths occurred across 24 hours," the top health official told a press conference in Panaji late on Saturday.

CM Sawant and Health Minister Rane, whose leadership has been questioned both by the ruling as well as opposition MLAs during the crisis, however refused to take questions related to the deaths due to oxygen shortage.

Sawant however said that the high mortality rate in Covid patients in Goa was on account of "100 percent" transparency in reporting of such deaths.The Bombay High Court bench in Goa which has been hearing a bunch of petitions related to mishandling of the Covid crisis, had however pinpointed oxygen shortage as the cause of deaths at the top hospital.

 Latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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