A health worker repairs an oxygen cylinder for a Covid-19 patient in a banquet room converted into a quarantine center in New Delhi, India, on April 23. AP
A number of countries have pledged to send oxygen and other medical aid to India as the country battles the force of a devastating second wave of coronavirus. Hospitals in the capital report severe lack of oxygen.
For the past two weeks, medical facilities there have run out of oxygen and intensive care beds, and patients have died at home and outside the hospitals while waiting for care.
On Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government is importing 18 oxygen tankers from Thailand and that they are expected to arrive on Wednesday.
“When these 18 tankers arrive tomorrow [Wednesday]will solve the problem of oxygen transport, ”he said.
France has also pledged to help, stating that it will send medical aid to India from the end of this week on Monday, according to a press release from the French Foreign Ministry.
Eight medical oxygen production units, each of which will be able to make an Indian hospital autonomous in oxygen for ten years, will be part of the delivery. Liquefied oxygen tanks and “specialized medical devices” – in particular 28 breathing apparatus and their specific consumables – will also be part of the deliveries, the press release said.
“In response to the needs expressed by the country’s authorities, this material is intended to respond to the emergency, but also to significantly and sustainably strengthen the capacities of Indian hospitals to treat the sick and to combat the pandemic,” said the French Foreign Ministry.
France and India have always shown solidarity with each other in difficult times. This solidarity is at the heart of our strategic partnership and friendship between the French and Indian peoples, ”it says.
Kejriwal said Tuesday that Delhi is “importing 21 ready-to-use oxygen systems from France” that are “ready for immediate use”. They will have a role to play in “solving the oxygen crisis in these hospitals,” he said.
According to Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, Ireland was one of the first countries to confirm “concrete support” for India on Monday. The Irish Minister of Health announced that Ireland would send 700 oxygen concentrators originally purchased by the Irish Health Service as part of its pandemic planning.
Meanwhile, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said it would help its citizens in need with medical oxygen concentrators on Tuesday while sending medical and Covid-19 supplies such as test kits into the country.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam said in a briefing Tuesday that the State Department was communicating closely with the embassy and consulates in India to ensure the safety of South Korean citizens.
A total of 20,201 cases and 380 deaths were recorded in Delhi on Monday evening, according to a bulletin issued by the local health department.
The capital has reported more than 20,000 cases a day for the past ten days, with the total number of cases standing at 1,047,916, including 14,628 deaths.