EU, UK, Denmark, US offer support to India amid COVID surge

New Delhi: EU, US, Denmark have extended support to India with the UK sending more than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment to deal with the surging covid cases. The 600 pieces include ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices sent from the UK today and will be arriving in India early Tuesday (April 27) morning.

“We stand side by side with India” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against Covid-19″, adding, “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.”

In all UK will send nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, that can extract oxygen from the air, 120 non-invasive ventilators, and 20 manual ventilators this week.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “We are supporting our Indian friends with vital medical equipment at a difficult time for them in this pandemic”. 
India has reported over 3 lac covid cases in the last few days, with cities like Delhi and Mumbai badly impacted. Several hospitals in the national capital have been sending SOS as oxygen supplies deplete putting the lives of patients in danger. 

Earlier in the day, the European Union announced that it is activating its “civil protection mechanism” to provide assistance to India like Oxygen and medicine. “Upon request for assistance by India”, Janez

Lenarčič European Commissioner for Crisis Management said, “we have activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (ERCC). The EU will do its utmost to mobilize assistance to support people of India”. 

President of the European commission Ursula von der Leyen seconded that tweeting, “The EU is pooling resources to respond rapidly to India’s request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

We stand in full solidarity with the Indian people.”

Other countries in Europe like Denmark, France, Germany are also extending support. Denmark’s envoy to Delhi Freddy Svane tells WION,”We are working closely with MEA to assist India with whatever is required. That’s what friends are about”.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday announced that her country is preparing urgent support for India to deal with the ongoing Covid pandemic. She said, “to the people of India I want to express my sympathy for the terrible suffering that covid 19 has again brought over your communities. Germany stands in solidarity with India and is urgently preparing a mission of support”

Armed Forces Medical Services or AFMS will be importing 23 mobile oxygen generation plants from Germany. These plants will be deployed in AFMS hospitals catering to COVID patients. From Germany, containers are also being imported. 

After much criticism over not allowing the import of raw material for manufacturing of covid vaccines in India, top officials of the US Govt also extended support to India. US secretary of state Antony Blinken in a tweet statement said, “Our hearts go out to the Indian people in the midst of the horrific COVID-19 outbreak. We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and we will rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India’s health care heroes.”. 

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in a near-simultaneous tweet, said, “The U.S. is deeply concerned by the severe COVID outbreak in India. We are working around the clock to deploy more supplies and support to our friends and partners in India as they bravely battle this pandemic. More very soon.”

The US is expected to announce its support to India soon, though a big focus remains on when it lifts a ban on the export of covid vaccine raw material. India is the largest producer of vaccines globally, but manufacturing is being hampered due to the lack of raw material. 

Meanwhile, India’s neighbours– Afghanistan and Iran have also extended support to New Delhi. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, foreign minister Atmar and envoy to India Farid Mamundzay all tweeted and showed solidarity for India. Afghan President said, “Our hearts go out to the Indian people & government as they fight the horrendous outbreak of COVID. On behalf of the Afghan people & government, we send our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones & wish a quick recovery to those who are suffering from the virus.”

Iran’s health minister Dr Saeed Namaki in a letter to India’s health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan extended support, saying, “The government and people of Iran are ready to spare no technical assistance, expertise and equipment in these difficult days and at the height of the plight of the dear citizens of India with the COVID-19 epidemic.”

A whole host of countries have extended solidarity with India. These are China, Pakistan, Bhutan, Solvenia, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Singapore. So far India has been able to get 4 tankers from Singapore and liquid Oxygen from Saudi Arabia. More medicines from Singapore will arrive tonight.

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