UK to send ‘vital medical equipment’ to India to help fight COVID-19


New Delhi: More than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment will be sent to India to support the country in its fight against COVID-19, the British High Commission (BHC) announced on Sunday.

A BHC release informed that the assistance package, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, includes ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks.

The aid will be used by the Government of India (GOI) to provide vital medical treatment to those suffering from COVID-19 in India, the release said.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care has worked closely with the National Health Service (NHS), as well as suppliers and manufacturers in the UK to identify reserve life-saving equipment that can be sent to India.

India has this week reported its highest numbers of new daily cases and deaths since the pandemic began and is facing severe shortages of oxygen.

Following discussions with the GOI, the first shipment of equipment will leave the UK today, arriving in New Delhi in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Further shipments are due to follow later this week, the BHC said.

“In total, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to the country this week. This equipment will be crucial in helping to save the lives of the most vulnerable in India. The oxygen concentrators, for example, can extract oxygen from the air in the atmosphere so that it can be provided to patients, taking the strain off hospital oxygen systems and allowing oxygen to be provided in situations where hospital oxygen supplies have run out,” the BHC release added.

The high commission said that the UK is working closely with the GOI to identify further assistance it can provide in the coming days.

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,” he added.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We have all got to work together to tackle COVID-19. India is a very important partner to us, so we are providing oxygen concentrators and ventilators to help save the lives of the most vulnerable. We will be following up on this first delivery with further support, based on our ongoing discussions with the Indian Government.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said: “The heart-breaking scenes in India show once again how awful this terrible disease is. We are determined to support the people of India through this very difficult time, and I am hugely grateful to those who have worked hard to make this initial delivery happen.” (ANI)