Israel to send Covid-19 aid to India as the country hits 20 million cases

Flights will carry oxygen generators, respirators, medicine and other equipment

Covid-19 patients inside the emergency ward of a Covid-19 hospital in New Delhi, India. Getty
Covid-19 patients inside the emergency ward of a Covid-19 hospital in New Delhi, India. Getty

Israel will send emergency medical aid, including badly needed oxygen equipment, to India on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said, to help fight the world's biggest Covid-19 surge.

The Israeli ministry said a series of flights throughout the week would carry aid that included thousands of group and individual oxygen generators, as well as respirators, medicine and other medical equipment.

"The extension of emergency assistance is an expression of the deep friendship between our countries in India's time of need," Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.

International aid has poured into India in response to the crisis as the country's health system struggles to cope under the weight of new Covid-19 cases, with hospitals running out of beds and oxygen.

Meanwhile, people in Gaza have been tackling a surge in coronavirus cases since early April, with more than a third of tests returning positive.

The increase in numbers prompted the authorities to announce restrictions on April 1, which included a 9pm curfew, the closure of weekly markets and wedding halls as well as a ban on gatherings.

Gaza has been carrying out rapid tests and PCR tests, although the equipment to conduct the latter is extremely expensive and capacity remains limited.

“The Ministry of Health only has one laboratory available where they can do the PCR test,” said Sacha Bootsma, head of the WHO’s Gaza office.

“It’s also not a matter of buying more PCR machines, but staffing and the capacity to run these tests.”

The 5.2 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip have been receiving limited supplies of vaccines through the global Covax vaccine-sharing scheme.

About 167,000 citizens in the Palestinian Authority areas have received at least one dose, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Updated: May 4, 2021 02:36 PM


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