As India battles a devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that is killing thousands each day, several nations sent help to tackle the crisis.
The second wave that began in March has escalated rapidly, with India recording more than a million new cases in just three days. For the past two weeks, medical facilities have been running out of oxygen and ICU beds, with patients left to die at home and outside hospitals waiting for care.
On Monday, India reported 352,991 new cases and 2,812 virus-related deaths, marking the world’s highest daily caseload for the fifth straight day.
The situation is particularly dire in the capital New Delhi, which is under lockdown until May 3. The city is facing severe oxygen shortages as Delhi does not produce its own oxygen and relies on resources supplied by the central government.
Over the past few days several hospitals tweeted SOS messages appealing for oxygen supplies. On Saturday, at least 20 critically ill patients died after oxygen supply was delayed at one Delhi hospital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed his administration will set up 551 oxygen generation plants “in every district to ensure adequate oxygen availability”.
Modi only addressed the nation on the situation for the first time last week, having held political rallies and largely downplayed the second wave’s urgency in the weeks before.
Several hospitals in Delhi have gone to the city’s high court seeking it to order the state and federal governments to make emergency arrangements for medical supplies, mainly oxygen.
“It’s a tsunami. How are we trying to build capacity?” the Delhi high court asked the state and federal governments in response to a plea.
India is also importing 23 mobile generation plants and containers from Germany, which will be airlifted and arrive in India within a week. The supplies will be deployed to military hospitals treating Covid-19 patients.
Neighboring Pakistan announced it would provide “relief support” in a “gesture of solidarity,” according to a statement from the country’s ministry of foreign affairs.
The two nuclear armed states have a long and hostile history, and tensions have risen considerably in the past year. Pakistan is offering to send ventilators, PPE and other medical assistance.
“I want to express our solidarity with the people of India as they battle a dangerous wave of Covid-19,” said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in a statement posted Saturday. “Our prayers for a speedy recovery go to all those suffering from the pandemic,” said Khan. “We must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together.”
The United Kingdom is sending 600 pieces of medical equipment to India, including oxygen concentrators and ventilators, the government announced Sunday.
The Biden administration and the US Defense Department will deploy supplies and support to India, including sending ventilators, PPE, rapid diagnostic test kits, and therapeutics, according to the White House and senior officials.
The United States partially also lifted a ban for ‘specific raw material’ required for manufacturing of Covid vaccine in India.
Tech giants Microsoft and Google have also offered support to India, including funding for medical supplies such as oxygen concentration devices.