UK joins global effort to tackle Covid-19 crisis in India

Britain will send nine airline container loads of supplies to India over next week

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More than 600 pieces of medical equipment will be sent from the UK to help India as it tackles an outbreak of coronavirus that has crippled the country's medical system.

Ventilators and oxygen concentrators were due to leave for India on Sunday, with the first shipment expected to land on Tuesday.

Other nations, including neighbour Pakistan and the US, have also sent aid to India, which is reeling from 349,691 confirmed new cases and 2,767 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

For the fourth consecutive day, India on Sunday set a global daily record for new Covid-19 infections, spurred by a new variant that has emerged in the country.

“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,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“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,” he said.

“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 the pandemic.”

India has officially recorded more than 16.9 million cases and 192,311 deaths.

But experts fear the real figures could be much higher, as suspected cases are not included and many deaths from the infection are being attributed to underlying conditions.

Health officials are urgently trying to expand intensive care units and stock up on dwindling supplies of oxygen.

Nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent from the UK to India over the next week.

This equipment will help to save the lives of the most vulnerable in the country.

Oxygen concentrators extract oxygen from the air in the atmosphere so that it can be provided to patients.

It can take the strain off hospital oxygen systems.

Fauci on India: 'We're trying to help in any way we can'

Fauci on India: 'We're trying to help in any way we can'

“The heart-breaking scenes in India show once again how awful this terrible disease is," UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

"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.

"The global pandemic has challenged health systems all across the world and the best way to overcome adversity is to unite and defeat this dreadful disease together.”

The chaos in India is a stark failure after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January declared victory over Covid-19, and said the country was the “world’s pharmacy” – a global producer of vaccines and a model for other developing nations.

Caught off-guard by the latest surge, the federal government has asked industrialists to increase the production of oxygen and life-saving drugs that are also in short supply.