As India battles 2nd Covid wave, UK, US, Pak, China extend helping hand

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Several countries have come forward to help India as the country fights the second wave of Covid-19. India needs assistance on two major counts – vaccine and oxygen. Apart from these, rapid testing kits, medicines, masks, PPE kits, ventilators, etc are also being offered by various nations.

Countries have reached out to India to provide assistance with medical supplies such as raw materials needed for vaccines, critical covid-related medical supplies, oxygen generation equipment, and for an enhanced capability for smoother transportation and storage of oxygen.

While the rampant surge in new coronavirus infections per day has taken a toll on the fragile health infrastructure of the country, it is not just the lack of beds and medicines that is a concern. A massive shortage of medical oxygen is posing a greater challenge to the country battling the crisis in the second Covid wave.

Several countries have come forward to provide high-capacity tanks, containers to store and transport oxygen.

The first batches of high-capacity container shipment that landed in New Delhi were from Singapore, Saudi Arabia.

SAUDI ARABIA

Riyadh is providing liquid oxygen as well as tanks and oxygen cylinders. Linde-SIGAS is the leading manufacturer of all Bulk, Industrial, Medical and Specialty gases in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is working with the Adani Group and the Tata Group.

“Embassy of India is proud to partner with Adani group and M/s Linde in shipping much-needed 80MT liquid oxygen to India. Our heartfelt thanks to Ministry of Health Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for all their help, support and cooperation,” tweeted Embassy of India in Riyadh.

Facilitated by the Adani Group, the first shipment of 4 ISO cryogenic tanks with 80 tons of liquid oxygen is to arrive from Dammam to Mundra.

“In addition to ISO cryogenic tanks, we are also securing from Linde Saudi Arabia another 5,000 medical-grade oxygen cylinders. These too will be quickly sent to India. I am thankful to our Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed for assisting us in this regard,” tweeted Gautam Adani.

Linde India in partnership with the Tata group secured 24 cryogenic containers for the carriage of medical oxygen from international sources.

These containers arrived by airways to the eastern part of India, from where Linde would be transporting them to their Liquid Oxygen manufacturing facility. At the Linde facility, these cryogenic ISO containers would be conditioned and certified for liquid medical oxygen usage.

Each of these containers, which can carry up to 20 tons of Liquid O2 – will be used by Linde to pick up oxygen from various manufacturing facilities and deliver it to hospitals where required. These ISO containers can also act as interim oxygen storage in remote areas which are facing oxygen scarcity.

SINGAPORE

Singapore’s companies and foundations have also come forward to help. The first batch of medical supplies arrived in India on Sunday. 500 BiPAPs, 250 oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies were sent partnering with Temasek.

“500 BiPAPs, 250 oxygen concentrators & other medical supplies from Singapore landed in Mumbai last night on @airindiain flight!”, tweeted civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri

“Temasek is partnering with @airindiain and @AmazonNews_IN to airlift essential medical supplies for hospitals and COVID-19 treatment centres across India to aid local communities in urgent need,” tweeted Temasek.

Singaporean businessmen have also offered help.

“Are surgical masks in need? I can see if we have some we can spare from our manufacturing line in Singapore to send over to India,” asked Min-Liang Tan, CEO of Razer.

UAE

India is also procuring oxygen cylinders and containers from Abu Dhabi. Most of the transportation is being coordinated by the Ministry of External Affairs in tandem with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Indian Air Force.

CANADA

The Canadian government has reached out to India with an offer to help with PPE kits and ventilators.

Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said Canada has communicated its willingness to assist India during these difficult times.

She said, “We will stand ready with PPE (personal protective equipment) and ventilators and any items that might be useful for the Government of India.”

GERMANY

Apart from oxygen tankers which will be flown in by IAF transport planes from UAE and Singapore to augment oxygen supply, 23 mobile oxygen generation plants are to be airlifted from Germany for use in Armed Forces Medical Service hospitals with Covid patients. These oxygen-generating plants are expected to arrive in India within a week.

Each plant has a capacity to produce 40 litres of Oxygen per minute and 2,400 litres an hour. At this rate it can cater to 20-25 patients round the clock. The advantage of these plants is that they are easily portable. A total of 23 such plants are being imported as of now.

DENMARK

Maersk, a Danish shipping major is transporting tanks, etc to India. They will be used for storing, transportation of oxygen. Maersk is assisting India through MEA.

Danish envoy to India Ambassador Freddy Svane told India Today, “In these difficult times we need to stand ready and cooperate with India. Danish shipping major @Maersk is working closely with India offering transportation etc.”

UK

The UK announced more than 600 pieces of medical equipment in form of Covid-19 assistance to India. The first shipment is to arrive on Tuesday morning.

“We stand side by side with India as a friend & partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against Covid-19,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

FRANCE

France plans to offer India “significant” extra oxygen capacity in the coming days to help the country cope with a record surge in Covid-19 infections, the French presidency said on Sunday.

EUROPEAN UNION

Apart from an individual, bilateral assistance, most European nations are looking to assist India after the European Union invoked the ‘Civil Protection Mechanism’.

The EU as a whole is also preparing rapid assistance for India, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said.

“Alarmed by the epidemiological situation in India. We are ready to support,” von der Leyen said on Twitter.

“The EU is pooling resources to respond rapidly to India’s request for assistance via the EU civil protection mechanism.”

The European Union will be discussing support and cooperation in the upcoming EU-India Leaders’ meeting on May 8.

“The #EU stands in solidarity with Indian people amidst resurgent #COVID19 pandemic. The fight against the virus is a common fight. We will discuss our support and cooperation at EU-India Leaders’ meeting on 8 May with @narendramodi and @antoniocostapm”, Charles Michel, President of the European Council had tweeted on Friday.

“Upon request for assistance by #India, we have activated the #EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The ???? will do its utmost to mobilise assistance to support people of ????. Our #ERCC is already coordinating EU MS that are ready to provide urgently needed #oxygen & medicine rapidly,” said Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Crisis Management.

HONG KONG

As many as 800 Oxygen Concentrators have been airlifted from Hong Kong to Delhi. 10,000 more will be dispatched in a week.

“India’s private carriers are strengthening our efforts against the pandemic. @flyspicejet airlifts 800 oxygen concentrators from Hong Kong to India,” tweeted Minister Puri.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian, to a question of what help China is giving to India during a regular media briefing in Beijing said, “We have noticed the relevant reports and China expresses sincere condolences to the recent deterioration of the situation in India. The Chinese government and the Chinese people firmly support the Indian government and people in fighting the pandemic, and are willing to provide support and assistance in accordance with the needs of the Indian side.”

He added, “The Chinese side is maintaining communication with the Indian side on this. China believes that the Indian people will be able to overcome the pandemic at an early date.”

PAKISTAN

Pakistan also has offered ventilators and other medical equipment as a “gesture of solidarity” to India, but there has been no response from New Delhi on the offer.

“As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of COVID-19, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support to India including ventilators, Bi-PAP, digital X-ray machines, PPEs and related items,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement late Saturday night.

RUSSIA

Russia offered help to India in the wake of the Covid crisis. Sources say India could be looking at procuring oxygen concentrators and tanks from Moscow. Amidst an acute shortage of drugs, Moscow has also offered to supply the anti-viral drug Remdesivir to New Delhi. Discussions are ongoing for supply of 3-4 lakh Remdesivir injections per week.

AUSTRALIA

Australia will send oxygen, ventilators and personal protective equipment to India as part of an immediate support package to the country which is battling with the latest surge of the COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday. The federal government was in the process of considering what it could send to help, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation news channel quoted Hunt as saying.

‘India is literally gasping for oxygen,’ the federal health minister said. “And while we can assist with the national medical stockpile, their particular request is for assistance with regards to the physical supply of oxygen. That will be one of the things we are looking at, in particular with the states,” the minister said.

The federal government also confirmed to send oxygen, ventilators and personal protective equipment to India as part of an immediate support package to be announced on Tuesday, according to the report.

USA

Finally, the US on Sunday confirmed that it will be sending raw materials needed for producing Covid vaccines to India. The long-pending request of India has finally been heard after massive outrage over America dithering on providing critical supplies to India when the country is facing the worst crisis in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and conveyed the decision of the Biden administration.

“The US has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” said Emily Horne, spokesperson of the White House National Security Council.

  • Aid extended by the US to India include:
  • Raw material for vaccine prod
  • Therapeutics
  • Rapid diagnostic kits
  • Ventilators
  • Oxygen generation & related supplies
  • Financial support for vaccine manufacturing expansion
  • Deployment of @CDCgov, @USAID public health teams

“318 Philips Oxygen Concentrators loaded by @airindiain at JFK Airport on their way to Delhi. An effort by the civil aviation sector to save every precious human life & further strengthen India’s spirited fight against COVID-19,” said Hardeep Puri.

The central government meanwhile has decided that all major ports are to waive off all charges for ships carrying oxygen, other related equipment.





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