INS Sharda takes essential medical supplies to Lakshadweep to fight COVID-19 pandemic

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New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) Indian naval ship (INS) Sharda on Sunday took essential medical supplies, including masks and oxygen cylinders, from Kochi in Kerala to Lakshadweep to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Navy officials said.

This operation was conducted as part of Mission Oxygen Express, they mentioned.

The ship transported 35 oxygen cylinders, rapid antigen detection (RADT) kits, personnel protective equipment (PPE), masks and other items to Kavaratti in Lakshadweep, the officials noted.

These items were disembarked at Kavaratti and the ship then went to Minicoy island to disembark the remaining oxygen cylinders and medical supplies, they mentioned.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has hired a ship called Meghna and it has departed with 41 empty oxygen cylinders from Lakshadweep to Kochi, the officials said.

Meghna will return after refilling the empty cylinders with oxygen, they noted.

Moreover, a naval contingent comprising one doctor, two medical assistants and an additional sailor reached Kadmat island on Sunday to assist the civil administration in fighting COVID-19, they stated.

Also, Southern Naval Command has reserved 10 beds, including intensive care unit (ICU) facilities at Indian Naval Hospital Ship (INHS) Sanjivani, for patients from Lakshadweep, they said.

This step has been taken by the Southern Naval Command to cater for shortages in beds at Lakshadweep, they added.

Hospitals in many parts of India continue to grapple with severe shortage of medical oxygen on Sunday even after receiving emergency supplies.

A record single-day rise of 3,46,786 coronavirus cases pushed India's tally to 1,66,10,481, while active cases crossed the 25-lakh mark, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Saturday.

The death toll rose to 1,89,544 with a record 2,624 more fatalities in a day, the data updated at 8 am showed. PTI DSP KJ KJ