India Covid Crisis: First Relief Supplies Arrive, Cases Hit New Record
Story Code : 930001
A Super Galaxy military transporter carrying more than 400 oxygen cylinders and other hospital equipment and nearly 1m rapid coronavirus tests landed at Delhi’s international airport on Friday.
India set another daily record rise of cases, with 386,452 new infections. There were also 3,498 new deaths, according to health ministry data.
“The United States is delivering supplies worth more than $100m in the coming days to provide urgent relief to our partners in India,” state department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday.
Japan became the latest to offer help, announcing on Friday it would dispatch 300 oxygen concentrators and 300 ventilators to India.
“Japan stands with India, our friend and partner, in her efforts to fight (the) Covid-19 pandemic through this additional emergency assistance,” the foreign ministry said.
More than 40 countries have committed to sending vital medical aid, particularly oxygen supplies, the foreign secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters on Thursday.
The supplies include almost 550 oxygen-generating plants, more than 4,000 oxygen concentrators, 10,000 oxygen cylinders as well as 17 cryogenic tankers.
India has seen about 18.5 million infections, including more than 6m this month. More than 200,000 have died, although many experts suspect the real figure is much higher.
In many areas outside the main hotspots of the capital Delhi and Maharashtra state, hospitals are running out of beds as relatives of the sick desperately hunt for medicines and oxygen cylinders.
The country’s financial hub of Mumbai, one of the major cities reeling from the new wave, announced late on Thursday that it would halt inoculations from Friday to Sunday “owing to non-availability of vaccine stock”.
Until now, only “frontline” workers like medical staff, people over 45 and those with existing illnesses have been given the AstraZeneca shot or Bharat Biotech’s homegrown Covaxin.
But even this more modest program has faltered.
So far around 150m shots have been administered, equating to 11.5% of the population of 1.3 billion people. Just 25 million have had two shots.