Just as India proved to be the "world's pharmacy," providing COVID vaccines to over 85 countries like Brazil & UAE earlier this year, various nations have now come forth in India's time of need. With India, home to a population of 136 crore, battling a ruthless 2nd wave of COVID since April 2021, many countries like Russia, UK, USA and Taiwan have stepped up and offered vaccines and other medical equipment to the South Asian giant India:
Russian flights with emergency humanitarian aid land in India
Two Russian flights with oxygen concentrators, lung ventilation equipment, bedside monitors, medicines, including Coronavir and other essential pharmaceutical items landed in India to help the country in its fight against the COVID-19 surge.
The information was shared by the Ambassador of Russia to India, Nikolay Kudashev. "The Russian Federation decided to send humanitarian assistance to India in the spirit of the special and privileged strategic partnership between our two countries as well as in the context of our anti #COVID19 cooperation," said Nikolay Kudashev.
"For this purpose, 2 urgent flights, operated by Russian EMERCOM arrived here today. These are oxygen concentrators, lung ventilation equipment, bedside monitors, medicines, including Coronavir & other essential pharmaceutical items," added Kudashev.
He further said that Russia is closely watching the situation in India, which is becoming more and more alarming with the unprecedented spread of the coronavirus infection.
"We sincerely empathize with the Indian people due to our traditionally warm and friendly relations," said Kudashev.
He added that deliveries of COVID- 19 vaccine Sputnik V to India will start from May 2021.
"Joint fight against coronavirus one of the most important areas of our cooperation at present, also includes forthcoming deliveries of Sputnik V starting from May '21 & subsequent facilitation of its production in India, cooperation in field of medical science," said the Russian envoy.
India had approved emergency supplies of hydroxychloroquine to Russia as a gesture of goodwill, when the pandemic unfolded last year.
Lauding India's effort Kudashev stated, "We appreciate and remember it. This is the only way we can defeat the coronavirus - by uniting our endeavors and supporting each other in difficult times. Collective efforts and mutual respect should be the most important recipe to respond to any challenge!"
"We hope that today's delivery of the Russian humanitarian assistance will become an effective contribution to the Indian government's efforts to provide emergency treatment to those who were affected by the COVID-19," he added.
The spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Arindam Bagchi, also tweeted the development thanking Russia for their help:
A longstanding and time-tested partner! Grateful for shipment of oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other medical supplies that arrived from Russia this morning in two aircrafts. pic.twitter.com/ozrla74m5k— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) April 29, 2021
120 oxygen concentrators from UK reach India
A consignment of 120 oxygen concentrators from the United Kingdom reached India, which is in the throes of a deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, on Thursday morning.
Taking to Twitter, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi announced: "Cooperation with UK continues. Welcome another shipment from UK containing 120 oxygen concentrators that arrived early this morning." The UK had earlier announced that it would send three oxygen generation units, each with the capacity of producing 500 litres of oxygen per minute, to India in support of the country's fight against COVID-19.
Cooperation with UK continues. Welcome another shipment from 🇬🇧 containing 120 oxygen concentrators that arrived early this morning. pic.twitter.com/DImRRKy1rm— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) April 29, 2021
The United Kingdom High Commission to India on Wednesday said that it will send further vital oxygen equipment to India.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that Britain stands with Indian "friends" in their fight against COVID-19.
"We stand with our Indian friends in their fight against COVID-19. International collaboration is more essential than ever, and this additional UK support package will help meet India's current needs, particularly for more oxygen," the statement quoted him as saying.
The UK recently announced its decision to support India, with 495 oxygen concentrators and 200 ventilators sent from surplus stocks.
US to deliver medical supplies worth over USD 100 million to India
The United States is delivering medical supplies worth more than USD 100 million in the coming days to India to provide urgent relief as the country battles a new wave of COVID-19 cases, said the White House.
Under the immediate emergency COVID-19 Assistance, Washington is providing 1,700 oxygen concentrators, an initial delivery of 1,100 cylinders, multiple large-scale Oxygen Generation Units to support up to 20 patients each, to India. The White House said that US government assistance flights will start arriving in India on Thursday, April 29, and will continue into next week.
US President Joe Biden had tweeted about his concern for the Indian situation few days back:
Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need. https://t.co/SzWRj0eP3y— President Biden (@POTUS) April 25, 2021
According to the Fact Sheet issued by the Biden administration on Wednesday (local time), the US has re-directed its own order of Astra Zeneca manufacturing supplies to India which will allow the country to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and it will be providing the first tranche of a planned 20,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug Remdesivir to help treat hospitalized patients.
The United States and India have closely worked together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House said.
"Reflecting the United States' solidarity with India as it battles a new wave of COVID-19 cases, the United States is delivering supplies worth more than USD 100 million in the coming days to provide urgent relief to our partners in India," the fact sheet read.
"Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need," it noted.
The White House elaborated on the types of assistance that will be provided by the United States in the coming days.
The Biden administration said that the US is providing an initial delivery of 1,100 oxygen cylinders that will remain in India and can be repeatedly refilled at local supply centres, with more planeloads to come.
Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also locally procured oxygen cylinders and will deliver them to support hospital systems in coordination with the Government of India.
Also, the US will supply 1700 oxygen concentrators to obtain oxygen from ambient air, these mobile units provide options for flexible patient treatment and multiple large-scale units to -----support up to 20 patients each, and additional mobile units will provide an ability to target specific shortages.
As many as 15 million N95 masks to protect both patients and Indian health care personnel will be provided by the United States to India. The United States will also be delivering 1 million rapid diagnostic tests.
In addition, the fact sheet noted that US state governments, private companies, non-government organizations, and thousands of Americans from across the country have mobilized to deliver vital oxygen, related equipment, and essential supplies for Indian hospitals to support frontline health care workers and the people of India most affected during the current outbreak.
WHO to supply oxygen concentrators, hospital beds
The World Health Organization (WHO) pledged to supply oxygen concentrators, hospital beds and essential medical supplies as India battles surge in Covid-19 cases.
The WHO is procuring laboratory supplies, including 1.2 million reagents, to meet the huge demand and need for testing; mobile field hospitals with capacity of 20-30 beds, which could be set up in the most affected areas. The WHO is also chartering flights to bring in 4, 000 oxygen concentrators to help meet the increased demands.
It said that addressing the critical gaps should be top priority.
"Addressing critical gaps in essential medical supplies and hospital capacities should be top priority as India battles surge in #COVID19 cases," says Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, @WHOSEARO— WHO South-East Asia (@WHOSEARO) April 28, 2021
Read the full statement here 👉🏽 https://t.co/1lUuhURLDR pic.twitter.com/foJ3pm5dXs
"The current rapid surge of Covid-19 cases has put immense pressure on the health systems, already overburdened since the start of the pandemic. We need to act with speed, expand hospital capacities and equip them with medical supplies, most needed to save lives," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, in a statement on Wednesday.
In addition, health authorities must emphasise on rational use of drugs and oxygen, to ensure lifesaving interventions are made available to only those who need it, Singh said.
Singh noted that over 2600 WHO technical staff, working on various programmes such as polio, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases, have been repurposed to support pandemic response in India. They will support with rapid situational analyses, and implementation of tailored responses.
Along with optimising available resources such as ICU beds, all efforts need to be made to scale up Covid-19 vaccination coverage, Singh said.
She also emphasised the need to follow key public health measures -- test, trace, isolate and treat -- along with physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and masks continue to be our tried and tested measures to curtail Covid-19 transmission.
"Masks should be worn correctly covering the nose and mouth properly. Our masks should be a good fit, without gaps, to effectively protect us from the virus," Singh said.
Taiwan to send oxygen concentrators this week
Taiwan has promised to send a batch of oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies to India in the next few days to help it battle a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections, according to a senior government official.
"Our first shipment of the oxygen concentrators and other supplies will leave [on a China Airlines flight] before the end of this week," said deputy foreign minister Miguel Tsao at a legislative session on Wednesday, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
He further said that it would be the first of several shipments as Taiwan has made a long-term commitment to support India's efforts to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, describing India as a "like-minded and important international partner".
The worsening COVID-19 situation in India has seen a surge in the demand for medical oxygen and beds for the patients and many parts of the country are reporting an acute shortage of essential medical supplies.
Several countries around the world have come forward to help India as it continues to struggle with rising coronavirus cases.
According to Taiwan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu offered his support - via a deputy - to Gourangalal Das, director-general of the India Taipei Association, after learning of the situation in India.
The ministry then worked with local companies to ensure the speedy delivery of the medical equipment, she said.
Earlier this month, Wu had said that Taiwan had worked with other democracies, including India, to provide its diplomatic ally Paraguay with COVID-19 vaccines after China had put pressure on the country to ditch Taipei in exchange for shots, reported SCMP.