India: Expert says variant and oxygen shortages causing ‘havoc’
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the assistance package would include ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks. It 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.”
India has seen a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in recent days.
Britain sends vital medical equipment to India as Covid cases skyrocket
Boris Johnson pledges to send vital equipment to India
Hospitals in the capital and across the country have been forced to turn away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also pledged to send vital equipment to India.
She tweeted: “Alarmed by the epidemiological situation in India. We are ready to support.”
European Commissioner for humanitarian aid Janez Lenarcic added: “The EU executive is already coordinating with EU countries that are ready to provide urgently needed oxygen & medicine rapidly.”
READ MORE: Record Covid cases in India but worse yet to come, experts warn
India’s oxygen supply has escalated
The number of cases in India surged by 349,691 in the past 24 hours, the fourth straight day of record peaks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to be vaccinated and exercise caution amid the rising number of cases.
Mr Modi said: “We were confident, our spirits were up after successfully tackling the first wave, but this storm has shaken the nation.”
India has recorded a total of 16.96 million infections and 192,311 coronavirus deaths, after 2,767 more died overnight, health ministry data showed.
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Despite the huge number of daily infections, experts have warned India has yet to hit the peak of its second wave.
A leading virologist fears daily cases could hit 500,000 during the first week in May.
Experts said many people had been put off jabs because of European fears over vaccine safety.
Top virologist Shahid Jameel told LBC yesterday: “We still have about two more weeks of this horror.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi
“But on the other side of this peak infections will not just drop down to zero.
“They will go down slower than they have gone up, we are in this for a least the next four to six weeks.
“Vaccines are to prevent the third wave, vaccines are no longer going to help in the second wave.”
He said a lot of Indians should have been inoculated in January or February when cases were falling but were discouraged by European leaders questioning jab safety.
India coronavirus crisis could hit second peak mid-May
Dr Jameel said: “Vaccine hesitancy is not an issue now but it was in the first part of the drive because we were on a falling daily curve.
“The blood clotting matters being raised in the EU was playing on people’s minds.”
Dr Anant Bhan, a global health expert, tweeted last week: “It’s not the virus variants and mutations which are a key cause of the current rise in infections.
“It’s the variants of ineptitude and abdication of public health thinking by our decision-makers.”