India Covid: First UK aid arrives as coronavirus deaths mount.

| 27th April 2021 | 0 Comments

(BBC News Contributed to this Article.)

Medical supplies from the UK arrived in India on Tuesday – the first international shipment aimed at stemming a devastating Covid-19 surge.

Ventilators and oxygen equipment landed in Delhi, but far more will be needed, with many hospitals overwhelmed and people waiting in the streets outside.

India recorded 320,000 new infections on Tuesday, and deaths are now close to 200,000 in total.

One health adviser called the aid for a nation of 1.3bn “a drop in the ocean”.

Zarir Udwadia, who works in Mumbai hospitals and counsels the government, told the BBC’s Today program the currently pledged supplies would have limited effects. He said he was seeing a ward full of patients struggling to breathe on ventilators of different forms and shapes”.

Dr Udwadia said the complacency over getting vaccinated during the first wave had now given way to long lines of people outside medical centres jostling to get shots.

“Vaccine hesitancy has become vaccine desperation,” he said.

Although India’s statistics currently stand at 17.6 million cases and 197,500 deaths, some believe the real figures to be much higher. One investigation by NDTV found that over the past week in Delhi alone some 1,158 deaths may have gone unrecorded.

The UK shipment of 200 pieces, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators – which will help hospitals manage oxygen supplies – was unloaded at Delhi airport on Tuesday.

Foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said it was “international co-operation at work”, but it is just the first trickle in what needs to be a flood of supplies for a nation of 1.3 billion people.

US President Joe Biden said on Monday he would send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine abroad and, although the destinations were not given, India could be a prime recipient.

The UK, however, said it would not be sending vaccine doses to India imminently. “We are moving through the UK prioritization list for our domestic rollout and we don’t have surplus doses, but we will keep this under review”, a spokesman for the prime minister said.

World Health Organization spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, said it would deliver 4,000 oxygen concentrators to India.

Category: World News

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