Britain sends vital medical equipment to India as Covid cases skyrocket

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The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the assistance package would include ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks. It said the first of nine planeloads of kit would arrive in New Delhi early on Tuesday.

In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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 (this) pandemic.”

India has seen a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in recent days.

Hospitals in the capital and across the country have been forced to turn away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also pledged to send vital equipment to India.

She tweeted: “Alarmed by the epidemiological situation in India. We are ready to support.”

European Commission for humanitarian aid Janez Lenarcic added: “The EU executive is already coordinating with EU countries that are ready to provide urgently needed oxygen & medicine rapidly.”

The number of cases surged by 349,691 in the past 24 hours, the fourth straight day of record peaks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to be vaccinated and exercise caution amid the rising number of cases.

Mr Modi said: “We were confident, our spirits were up after successfully tackling the first wave, but this storm has shaken the nation.”

India has recorded a total of 16.96 million infections and 192,311 coronavirus deaths, after 2,767 more died overnight, health ministry data showed.

More to follow…

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