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Covid: Countries send aid to ease India’s oxygen emergency

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International efforts are under way to help India as the country suffers critical oxygen shortages amid a devastating surge in Covid cases.

The UK has begun sending ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices. EU members are also due to send aid.

The US said it would provide raw materials for vaccines that had previously been under export controls.

India’s capital Delhi has extended its lockdown as overcrowded hospitals continue to turn patients away. 

The government has approved plans for more than 500 oxygen generation plants across the country to boost supplies. 

India reported 349,691 more cases in the 24 hours to Sunday morning and another 2,767 deaths, however the true figures are thought to be much higher. 

What is the UK sending?

The first consignment of aid left the UK on Sunday and is due to arrive in India on Tuesday. Further shipments will take place later in the week. 

The aid includes 495 oxygen concentrators – which can extract oxygen from the air when hospital oxygen systems have run out – as well as 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators.

“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,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

The spike in infection has led to the cancellation of a planned visit by Mr Johnson to India and to a travel ban. Other nations, including the UAE and Canada, have also banned flights from India.

What about the US and others?

The White House says it will immediately provide raw materials for vaccines to Indian vaccine manufacturers.

It follows calls by Indian officials and the Serum Institute of India (SII) for the US to lift export controls on raw materials for vaccines that were put in place in February.

The US will also provide medical equipment and protective gear. France meanwhile says it will provide oxygen.

Source: BBC

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