New Delhi: As India’s tally of covid-19 infections crossed three lakh for the sixth consecutive day on April 28, more countries pledged to support the world’s hardest-hit hotspot with supplies of medical equipment and oxygen required to treat thousands of critically ill patients who are desperately looking for treatment.
The US, France, Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Russia have pledged support to India as it battles a ferocious second wave of covid-19 infections that has brought the country’s health infrastructure on the verge of collapse.
India has received 318 Oxygen Concentrators from the US, and 500 BiPAPs, 250 oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies from Singapore, that landed in the covid-battered country on an Air India flight.
Key US business groups such as the US-India Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce, besides chief executive officers of more than 40 companies, announced the formation of a “Global Task Force on Pandemic Response: Mobilizing for India.”
Some major companies like Apple Inc., Google Inc, Microsoft Corp. and Deloitte have already announced aid for India.
Shortages of key drugs, lack of oxygen and hospital beds are among the challenges confronting health care workers.
France is sending eight oxygen generators, five containers of liquid oxygen and 28 ventilators in the first tranche of aid.
The country’s foreign ministry said that each oxygen generator can fulfill the needs of 15 critically ill patients.
“As many countries are doing, what Australia will do is we will provide an initial package…of support and to deliver this as soon as possible,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Canberra.
The 27-member European Union said, “Urgently needed oxygen, medicine and equipment will be delivered over the coming days by EU member states to India, following the country’s request for support through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.”
As part of this effort, Ireland was to dispatch 700 oxygen concentrators, an oxygen generator, 365 ventilators; Belgium was to send 9,000 doses of antiviral drug remdesivir; Romania to help with 80 oxygen concentrators and 75 oxygen cylinders; Luxembourg to send 58 ventilators; Portugal to dispatch 5,503 vials of remdesivir and 20,000 litres of oxygen; while Sweden was to channel 120 ventilators.
Saudi Arabia’s aid of 80 MT of liquid oxygen is enroute via the sea route, Hong Kong is sending 800 oxygen concentrators. India will also get six Cryogenic oxygen containers from the UAE.
Sources said that Germany is sending a mobile oxygen production unit which will be made available for three months along with 120 ventilators and 80 million KN95 masks.