More than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment will be sent to India to support the country in its fight against Covid-19, the UK Government has announced.
The assistance package, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, includes ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks. It will be used by the Government of India to provide vital medical treatment to those suffering from Covid-19 in India.
The Department of Health and Social Care have worked closely with the NHS, as well as suppliers and manufacturers in the UK to identify reserve life-saving equipment that can be sent to India.
India has this week reported its highest numbers of new daily cases and deaths since the pandemic began and is facing severe shortages of oxygen.
Following discussions with the Government of India, the first shipment of equipment will leave the UK today, arriving in New Delhi in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Further shipments are due to follow 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. This 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.
The UK is working closely with the Government of India to identify further assistance it can provide in the coming days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “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.
“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 the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus.
“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.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are supporting our Indian friends with vital medical equipment at a difficult time for them in this pandemic.
“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. We will be following up on this first delivery with further support, based on our ongoing discussions with the Indian Government.”
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.
“This first delivery of life saving equipment will provide much needed assistance and we stand 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.”
This is the just the latest example of UK-India collaboration throughout this pandemic, to the benefit of both countries and the world.