India on a brink of humanitarian catastrophe as countries step in to offer COVID-19 aid
India, a country of over 1.3 billion people is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, as several countries race to rapidly send help amid a devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The United States said it was working to immediately deploy to India drug treatments, rapid diagnostic COVID-19 testing kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment and will seek to provide oxygen supplies as well.
“We are in close touch with Indian officials at all levels. And we’re also closely coordinating with our allies, friends, and Quad partners about how we can collectively support India in its hour of need,” said The White House in a statement.
The White House said it had identified sources of raw material urgently needed for India’s manufacture of the Covishield vaccine and will make those available.
France, the United Kingdom and Germany also promised rapid support. Neighbouring rival Pakistan offered medical equipment and supplies after Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted prayers for a “speedy recovery”.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that the organisation was pooling resources to respond rapidly to India’s request for assistance.
“Alarmed by the epidemiological situation in India. We are ready to support. The EU is pooling resources to respond rapidly to India’s request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. We stand in full solidarity with the Indian people!” said Commissioner Leyen.
According to a BBC report, the first shipment of aid left the UK on April 25 and is due to arrive in India on Tuesday as more shipments are scheduled to take place later in the week.
The aid includes 495 oxygen concentrators and 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators.
“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,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
India’s new infections
Efforts to help India to battle with the COVID-19 amplified Sunday as the country’s crisis hit a record high with new deaths and infections.
According to Worldometer, India recorded 323,144 new infections over the last 24 hours, a 10 percent drop from the day before.
The figures still represent the sixth day with new infection numbers over 300,000 cases, the highest in the world.
To this end, India’s capital New Delhi, home to 20 million people and the worst-hit city in the country, extended its lockdown by a further week.
The World Health Organisation boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned the pandemic is intensifying around the world with more new cases in the last week than in the first five months of the pandemic.
In a speech marking the beginning for World Immunization Week, Ghebreyesus lamented that even while some countries have shown improvements in the battle against the coronavirus, many countries are still experiencing intense transmission and the situation in India is beyond heartbreaking.