the health ministry said in a statement that India had a daily production capacity of about 7,700 tons of oxygen, with 55,000 tons in reserve. Not all of it goes to medical use — some is used for industrial purposes, including India’s enormous steel-making industry.

On April 21, a government official told the Delhi High Court that medical demand had reached 8,800 tons per day, beyond the daily production capacity.

Mr. Modi’s government is in charge of allocating the national oxygen supplies, and on Thursday, India’s Supreme Court gave the government a week to come up with a “national plan” for distribution. The health ministry was told to issue a purchase order to import 55,000 additional tons of oxygen.

Oxygen is difficult to store and transport, and isn’t generally manufactured near India’s biggest cities, which are now reeling from the sudden spikes in cases.

States have accused each other of hoarding oxygen and blocking tankers at border crossings. Looters stole several cylinders of oxygen from a tanker making a delivery to a hospital in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

appealing for more oxygen at a hospital in Haryana State, on the Delhi border.

“Fortis Hospital in #Haryana has only 45 minutes of oxygen left,” the company wrote, asking government officials “to act immediately and help us save patients’ lives.”

Four hours later, the hospital received a tanker, the company tweeted.

It wasn’t clear whether every hospital with a critical need for oxygen was getting it in time.

Arvind Kejriwal, the top elected official in Delhi, said that the city needed a daily supply of 770 tons of oxygen. Mr. Modi’s government has allocated 530 tons.

At A.I.I.M.S. Hospital in Delhi, India’s premier research hospital, contact tracing among health care workers was suspended because there weren’t enough personnel to spare for the exercise, according to Srinivas Rajkumar, a representative for the resident doctors’ association.

Beginning on Saturday, all residents of India age 18 or older can register for a Covid-19 vaccine, but demand is expected to far outstrip supply. So far, more than 135 million people have received at least one dose, about a tenth of India’s population of nearly 1.4 billion. Two vaccines have received emergency use authorization, with at least five others in the pipeline.

A makeshift Covid hospital in Mumbai’s Bandra neighborhood was well supplied with oxygen, but the nearby vaccination center halted operations after running out of vaccine.

Karan Deep Singh contributed reporting.

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