LONDON: India will soon receive life-saving medical equipment, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators, from the UK as part of its mission to support India in the fight against COVID.
More than 600 pieces of medical equipment, which is said to be arriving in India on Tuesday, will be a great relief for the country that has been struggling with the shortage of oxygen and other equipment ever since the situation has worsened.
The first shipment of equipment has already left the UK and it will be arriving in India in the early hours of Tuesday. Further shipments are due to follow later this week.
The assistance package, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, includes ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks. The Department of Health and Social Care has worked closely with the NHS, as well as suppliers and manufacturers in the UK to identify reserve life-saving equipment that can be sent to India.
Recently, India has been reporting a high number of Covid-19 cases and deaths while several reports of shortage of oxygen are also coming.
In total, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to the country this week. This equipment will be crucial in helping to save the lives of the most vulnerable in India.
The oxygen concentrators, for example, can extract oxygen from the air in the atmosphere so that it can be provided to patients, taking the strain off hospital oxygen systems and allowing oxygen to be provided in situations where hospital oxygen supplies have run out.
The UK is working closely with the Government of India to identify further assistance it can provide in the coming days.
UK 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 the pandemic," he added.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "We are supporting our Indian friends with vital medical equipment at a difficult time for them in this pandemic. We have all got to work together to tackle Covid-19. India is a very important partner to us, so we're providing oxygen concentrators and ventilators to help save the lives of the most vulnerable. We will be following up on this first delivery with further support, based on our ongoing discussions with the Indian Government."
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said: "The heart-breaking scenes in India show once again how awful this terrible disease is. 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," he added.
(with inputs from IANS)