UK to send medical supplies to India in grips of Covid disaster

The UK government is set to send medical supplies to India, where a second wave of coronavirus is wreaking havoc and devastation.

With the world’s second most populated nation reporting record numbers of new cases for days on end, the UK has said it will deliver more than 600 pieces of equipment, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators.

The supplies will come from surplus stocks, with the first package due to arrive in the capital New Delhi early next week.

It comes as many hospitals in India face dire choices, with oxygen quickly running out and medics being overwhelmed by the number of Covid-19 patients. The number of infections rose by 349,691 in the past 24 hours – the fourth straight day of record peaks. 

That means the worst is likely yet to come – with those cases yet to be translated into hospitalisations and deaths.

There are fears that 5,700 people could die each day ‘by next month’.

But horrifying footage has already shown countless patients’ loved ones pleading for medical help, with many being turned away as medical workers struggle to cope with the stream of Covid sufferers.

The escalating situation has seen bodies pile up in crematoriums and in ambulances, while patients share beds in hospitals as the crisis spirals out of control.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the first of nine planeloads of kit would arrive in New Delhi early on Tuesday.

In a statement, 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 (this) pandemic.’

The PM has faced criticism for the delay before India was officially put on the UK’s red list – which came despite fears of a ‘double mutant’ variant being found in the country.

Thousands are thought to have scrambled to the UK on flights before the restrictions came into force, again raising serious questions about the UK’s border policy.

More to follow.

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