Shailesh Bagauli, a state official, said the timing of the festival had been determined by “optimal astrological conditions” and that the government had implemented measures like mask wearing and social distancing.

On Wednesday, news of the hospital oxygen leak quickly spread around the country, raising fears that the health care system here, which is chronically underfunded, was about to collapse.

Indian news channels showed images of the oxygen leak at Zakir Hussain Hospital in the city of Nashik.

“When we reached the spot, it was all foggy,” said S.K. Bairagi, a fire chief in the city. He said it took about 30 minutes to repair the tank.

The dwindling oxygen supply is becoming one of the most alarming aspects of India’s second wave. To expedite its delivery to hospitals, India’s railway service has begun running what it calls “oxygen express” trains across the country.

India’s health ministry has said that the daily demand for oxygen at hospitals has reached about 60 percent of the country’s daily production capacity of just over 7,000 metric tons. Government officials countered news reports this week that said India had increased oxygen exports as the second wave of infections was approaching, saying those exports amounted to less than 1 percent of daily production capacity.

But the health ministry also said that it was looking to import 50,000 metric tons of medical oxygen from abroad, a sign that India’s government may be concerned about the domestic supply.

On Tuesday night, more than a dozen hospitals in New Delhi, the capital, put out an alert saying they were hours away from running out of oxygen.

In Lucknow, another major city in northern India, the Mayo Medical Center warned on Wednesday that it was down to a 15-minute backup supply and that “oxygen is not available anywhere in Lucknow.”

Later in the day, hospital officials said they had received 40 oxygen cylinders. But medical experts said that with so many people falling sick, it was a dangerous time to be running low.

“There is definitely an oxygen shortage across the country,” said Shashank Joshi, an endocrinologist and member of the Covid task force in Maharashtra. “The situation is grim.”

Mujib Mashal contributed reporting from New Delhi, andBhadra Sharma from Kathmandu, Nepal.

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