Britain pledges another 1,000 ventilators to Covid-hit India

PM Boris Johnson assures India that the UK will help ‘in time of need’

Britain will send another 1,000 ventilators to crisis-hit India, which is battling an onslaught of Covid-19, and top UK medical experts are offering health advice.

India on Saturday became the first country to report more than 400,000 new daily cases and on Sunday announced that a record 3,689 people in the country died in the previous 24 hours.

The UK aid comes on top of the 200 ventilators, 495 oxygen concentrators and three oxygen-generation units that were last week pledged to the country.

"The terrible images we have seen in India in recent weeks are all the more powerful because of the close and enduring connection between the people of the UK and India," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“I am deeply moved by the surge of support the British people have provided to the people of India and am pleased the UK government has been able to play our part in providing life-saving assistance.

“The UK will always be there for India in its time of need.”

Mr Johnson will hold a virtual call with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to discuss the dire situation, while Britain’s chief scientific and medical officers are advising India’s course of action.

“This support will help to urgently meet some of India’s acute needs, particularly oxygen for patients,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“We are determined to help our Indian friends in their hour of need. We need to all work together to defeat Covid-19. No one is safe until we are all safe.”

A UK government statement said the world was “safer and stronger because of work between the UK and India.”

“The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, for example, was developed in the UK, is currently being produced in the millions by India’s Serum Institute and will be distributed to the world at cost through Covax,” it said, referring to the initiative that seeks to ensure the poorest countries are included in vaccination programmes.