Countries step up efforts to send much-needed medical supplies to India

·3-min read

New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) Countries around the world stepped up efforts on Tuesday to rush in much-needed medical supplies like oxygen concentrators, ventilators and life-saving medicines to India as it battles a devastating second wave of the coronavirus infection that has ripped through a large number of states.

As global help to tackle the crisis gained momentum, the government established a high level inter-ministerial group to coordinate procedure for immediate disbursal of the medical supplies to the recipient institutions in various parts of the country, people familiar with the development said.

The leading countries announcing assistance to India included France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sweden.

In its announcement, France said it is sending to India oxygen generators, liquid oxygen containers, ventilators and other medical supplies by air and sea to support the country by the end of this week.

France's assistance will include eight medical oxygen generators, each capable of uninterrupted supply of oxygen for a 250-bed hospital for nearly 10 years.

France said it is also sending to India five containers of liquid medical oxygen and each of them is capable of supplying medical oxygen to up to 10,000 patients per day.

The country is sending 28 ventilators and their consumables, as well as 200 electric syringe pumps.

Under the European Union's Civil Protection Mechanism, Ireland is sending 700 oxygen concentrators, one oxygen generator and 365 ventilators to India while Belgium is supplying 9,000 doses of antiviral medicine Remdesivir and Sweden is providing 120 ventilators, according to the EU.

Similarly, Romania is supplying 80 oxygen concentrators and 75 oxygen cylinders while Luxembourg is sending 58 ventilators to India.

On its part, Portugal is in the process of shipping 5,503 vials of Remdesivir and 20,000 litres of oxygen per week.

As part of its Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU plays a central role in coordinating its responses to emergencies in Europe and beyond.

India has been reeling under a devastating wave of coronavirus infections and hospitals across the country are facing an acute shortage of beds, medical oxygen and other supplies due to rising COVID-19 cases.

Janez Lenarcic, Commissioner for Crisis Management of the EU, said the grouping stands in full solidarity with the Indian people and is ready to do its utmost to support them at this 'critical time'.

'I would like to thank our member states that came in numerously with generous offers of help, showing that the EU is a trusted partner and a friend at times of need,' he said.

Germany is sending mobile oxygen production plants which will be made available for three months besides 120 ventilators and more than 80 million KN95 masks.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his country will send to India 500 ventilators, one million surgical masks, 500,000 P2 and N95 masks, 100,000 goggles 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields.

The embassy of India in Thimphu said Bhutan will provide liquid oxygen to India from a new plant being set up at Samdrup Jongkhar.

'Everyday, 40 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen produced by the oxygen plant will be exported to Assam using cryogenic tankers.

'The oxygen plant has a domestic investment of 51 percent by M/s S D Cryogenics and FDI component of 49 percent by Meghalaya Oxygen Pvt Ltd, an Assam-based Indian company,' it said.

India has also secured medical supplies like cryogenic oxygen containers through private and other channels from Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, according to officials.

It is learnt that the US is exploring the possibility of sending supplies relating to oxygen generation and that the aid may include components for the transportation of oxygen and oxygen cylinders.

The other proposals being worked upon include commercial supplies of Remdesivir that are immediately available.

The UK is sending 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, this week. PTI MPB RT RT