Indians in Australia hold prayers in solidarity with people back home battling Covid surge

Natasha Chaku
·2-min read

Melbourne, Apr 28 (PTI) Hundreds of Indians here in Australia on Wednesday held prayers and a candlelight vigil in solidarity with the people back home as India battles a harsh second wave of coronavirus infections.

The vigil was held at the iconic Federation Square building and attended by hundreds of Indian community members, who held posters and placards saying “Australia stands with India” and “Prayers for India”.

Karthik Arsu, one of the organisers, said: “We have organised the candlelight vigil today (Wednesday) to send our best wishes and prayers for the people of India”.

“We don’t want to lose hope and want to show our solidarity with the people of India. We are sending our prayers and positivity and hoping India will come out of this COVID-19 crisis soon,” he said.

India currently is battling an unprecedented wave of coronavirus which has crippled the healthcare system in the country as several hospitals have run out of oxygen supplies and ICU beds with ventilators.

On Wednesday India saw a record single-day rise of 3,60,960 coronavirus cases, which pushed the total tally to 1,79,97,267, while the death toll crossed two lakh following 3,293 fresh fatalities, according to Union health ministry data updated.

The Australian government on Tuesday announced a ban on direct flights from India for at least three weeks, as part of measures to prevent the new strain of virus from entering the nation.

“We recognise the challenging COVID-19 crisis that India is currently battling and we stand ready to provide more support to our friends in India and Indian Australians during this difficult time,” Prime minister Scott Morrison said.

The initial package of support was also announced which includes rapid deployment of 500 non-invasive ventilators, with capacity to deploy up to a total of 3,000 ventilators.

“Our Government is also supplying a significant package of personal protective equipment (PPE), including one million surgical masks, 500,000 P2/N95 masks, 100,000 surgical gowns, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields, Morrison said. PTI NC RUP RUP