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Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, “the demand for oxygen it grew 700% in the last month, ”Jesús Montaño, from the Federal Consumer Prosecutor’s Office, told AFP.
At the same time, fraud and speculation on social networks have increased, where “exorbitant prices” are charged.
Although the government enabled free outlets of oxygen, “The big problem is the lack of tanks. There is no way to take it, ”said Montaño.
On a street in the west of Ciudad de Mexico, dozens of people buy oxygen for your relatives sick with covid-19. They stand in line for up to five hours for a recharge that, in some cases, only lasts 60 minutes.
Resigned, they advance to the door of a private company, where an employee collects the tanks to mark them with the customer’s name.
“Alert, alert, we are in an emergency due to covid!”, Repeats in front of the line, at full volume, a recording broadcast through the loudspeaker of a police patrol.
Eduardo Martínez, a 33-year-old biochemist, knows this very well, in line for an hour to fill the tank of his mother, diagnosed with the new coronavirus last Tuesday.
Anticipating the bill that the end-of-year excesses would pass – from which his family assures he remained on the sidelines – Martínez had already bought a cylinder in advance and kept the money for the Christmas bonuses.
“Fortunately I didn’t buy anything in December,” he told AFP. Thus, it was able to pay the 3,500 pesos ($ 175) that the PCR test cost for the 55-year-old woman, who remains at home.
Despite the care, Martínez maintains that the virus had been haunting his neighborhood, where two neighbors recently died. “Where we live people are very reckless, stupid, they don’t wear masks. It’s worth it! ”.
A few positions away from him, Ileana Ruiz seeks oxygen so that his uncle can resist the transfer from a public hospital – where he does not feel well cared for – to a private clinic.
They will do it by private car because “there are no ambulances,” says this 23-year-old medical student, who has not been able to attend her virtual classes for four days because she is looking for medicine and, now, oxygen.
“We estimate that it will last an hour, what is necessary for the transfer,” said the young woman, who must pay 200 pesos (10 dollars) to refill the smaller tank.
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