First UK aid arrives in India as coronavirus deaths mount

First UK aid arrives as coronavirus deaths mount
Infections continues to soar - with another 320,000 cases on Tuesday. Source: EPA
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Medical aid from the United Kingdom arrived in India on Tuesday – the first international shipment aimed at stemming a devastating Covid-19 surge in India.

The aid includes Oxygen equipment and ventilators landed in Delhi, but far more will be needed, with many hospitals across India overwhelmed and people waiting in the streets outside.

On Tuesday, India recorded 320,000 new infections, and deaths are now close to 200,000 in total.

One health adviser called the aid for a nation of 1.3 billion people “a drop in the ocean”.

Zarir Udwadia, who counsels the government and works in Mumbai hospitals, told the BBC that the currently pledged supplies would have limited effects.

Dr Udwadia said he was seeing “ward after ward full of patients struggling to breathe on ventilators of different forms and shapes”.

He said the complacency over getting Covid-19 vaccine during the first wave had now given way to long lines of people outside medical centres jostling to get shots.

“Vaccine hesitancy has become vaccine desperation,” he added.

Although India’s statistics currently stand at 17.6m coronavirus cases and 197,500 deaths, some believe the real figures to be much higher.

One investigation by NDTV, a news television in the country, found that over the past week in Delhi alone some 1,158 deaths may have gone unrecorded.

The UK shipment of 200 pieces, including oxygen concentrators and ventilators – which will help hospitals manage oxygen supplies – was unloaded at Delhi airport on Tuesday.

Arindam Bagchi, a foreign ministry spokesman, said it was “international co-operation at work”, but it is just the first trickle in what needs to be a flood of supplies for a nation of 1.3 billion people.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden said that he would send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine abroad and, although the destinations were not given, India could be a prime recipient.

You may read: India: Delhi adds makeshift crematoriums as Covid deaths climb