India is set to receive support packages from more than 40 countries, mostly oxygen-related equipment and consignments of critical medicines, to help bolster the country’s response to an “unprecedented second wave” of Covid-19 infections, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said on Thursday.
Shringla made the remarks at a news briefing hours after two Russian military transport aircraft flew in 20 oxygen production plants, ventilators and 200,000 medicine packs, while three special flights from the US were expected to bring in raw materials for Covid-19 vaccines, oxygen generating equipment and oxygen concentrators.
The external affairs ministry is working with the health ministry and other agencies to expedite clearances and to ensure the equipment and medicines speedily reach areas where they are needed the most. Indian missions around the world have lists of urgently needed items – liquid oxygen, oxygen producing units and critical medicines such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab – so that they can coordinate with foreign governments and corporations to expedite deliveries.
“We are facing an unprecedented second wave of the pandemic. As of now, we have over three million active cases. This has obviously put considerable pressure on our healthcare system, on the capacities and resources that we have,” Shringla told the briefing.
More than 40 countries, including major powers such as the US, Russia, France and Germany, have committed to provide urgently needed items and Indian and foreign corporations are helping with procurements. Indian community associations in many countries too are pitching in to provide relief materials.
Shringla said India expects to receive more than 500 oxygen generating plants, more than 4,000 oxygen concentrators, more than 10,000 oxygen cylinders, and 17 cryogenic oxygen tankers.