UK sending medical devices like ventilators and oxygen concentrators to India

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New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) As India battles a severe second wave of coronavirus pandemic, the UK on Sunday announced sending life-saving medical equipment including ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices to the country.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent 'tragic loss' of life from the 'terrible virus'.

The UK high commission here said the support follows a request from India and Prime Minister Johnson's pledge for the UK to do all it can to help the country.

'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,' Johnson was quoted in a statement released by the high commission.

“We will continue to work closely with the Indian government during this difficult time and I'm determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against the pandemic,' he said.

The high commission said more than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment are being sent to India to support the country in its fight against COVID-19.

It said the ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices are due to leave the UK on Sunday and the first shipment is expected to arrive in Delhi early on Tuesday with further consignments reaching later this week.

'In total, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to the country this week,' it said.

It said the equipment will be crucial in helping to save the lives of the most vulnerable in India.

'The oxygen concentrators, for example, can extract oxygen from the air in the atmosphere so that it can be provided to patients, taking the strain off hospital oxygen systems and allowing oxygen to be provided in situations where hospital oxygen supplies have run out,' it said.

The high commission said the assistance package, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, includes ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks.

'The UK is working closely with the government of India to identify further assistance it can provide in the coming days,' it said.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK is supporting India with vital medical equipment at a difficult time for the country.

'We have all got to work together to tackle COVID-19. India is a very important partner to us, so we're providing oxygen concentrators and ventilators to help save the lives of the most vulnerable,' he said.

'We will be following up on this first delivery with further support, based on our ongoing discussions with the Indian Government,' he added.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said: “The heart-breaking scenes in India show once again how awful this terrible disease is.' 'We are determined to support the people of India through this very difficult time, and I am hugely grateful to those who have worked hard to make this initial delivery happen,' he added.

Hancock said the UK stands ready to do more.

'The global pandemic has challenged health systems all across the world and the best way to overcome adversity is to unite and defeat this dreadful disease together,' he said.

India is struggling with a second wave of coronavirus infection and hospitals in several states are reeling under shortage of medical oxygen and beds in view of rising COVID-19 cases.

The country recorded over three lakh-plus coronavirus cases for the fourth straight day. PTI MPB TIR TIR