COVID-19: UK donates ventilators to India as country faces oxygen crisis
London, April 25, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Ventilators are among more than 600 pieces of life-saving medical equipment being sent from the UK to India as the country battles a surge in COVID-19 cases.
On Sunday – for the fourth day in a row – India set a new global record for daily COVID infections.
India’s health ministry reported 349,691 cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 16.96 million, second only to the US.
The surge in cases has been accompanied by severe shortages of medical oxygen in some areas, with hospitals warning they could run out within hours.https://0fa4786b0f9a6bdde71607d652fa7094.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlAdvertisement
Following discussions with Indian ministers, the UK is sending a first shipment of supplies on Sunday – due to arrive in New Delhi in the early hours of Tuesday – with further shipments to follow.
Today we have sent the first of several urgent deliveries of surplus medical equipment to our friends in India to help provide life-saving care for vulnerable Covid patients. No-one is safe until we are all safe. pic.twitter.com/HOudeYv86c— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) April 25, 2021
In total, nine airline container loads of supplies – including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators – will be sent to India from the UK this week.
Mr Johnson, who had been due to visit India this week but cancelled his trip amid the surge in COVID cases, said: “We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against COVID-19.
“Vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus.
“We will continue to work closely with the Indian government during this difficult time and I’m determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against pandemic.”
The Department of Health and Social Care worked with the NHS, as well as UK suppliers and manufacturers, to identify reserve supplies that could be sent to India.
And ministers will work closely with their Indian counterparts to decide what further aid could be sent in the coming days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The heart-breaking scenes in India show once again how awful this terrible disease is.
“We are determined to support the people of India through this very difficult time, and I am hugely grateful to those who have worked hard to make this initial delivery happen.
“This first delivery of life saving equipment will provide much needed assistance and we stand ready to do more.”
Oxygen and medical supplies are also set to be sent to India from the EU, after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was “alarmed” by the situation.
The White House has indicated that support will also be coming from Washington – and oxygen tanks have already been loaded on to aircraft in Singapore to be flown into India.
Meanwhile, tankers carrying oxygen supplies have been transported by train across India.
Footage was released of a train transporting vehicles laden with liquid oxygen from Bokaro to Lucknow on Sunday.
Railways minister Piyush Goyal dubbed the train the “Oxygen Express”.