India coronavirus medical aids ‘not reaching those in need’

India coronavirus medical aids 'not reaching those in need'
Emergency aid began arriving in Delhi last week. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: As India’s devastating coronavirus crisis mounted last month, countries across the world began sending emergency medical aids to help stem the surge.

Planeloads of ventilators, oxygen equipment and medicines began pouring into India, from countries including the US and the UK, at the start of last week. Some 300 tonnes of supplies on 25 flights had arrived at Delhi International Airport alone by Sunday.

But – as coronavirus infections continue to reach record levels across India – concerns are mounting about delays in supplying the medical aids to those most in need.

Much of the cargo sat in airport hangars for several days, as hospitals called for more support. State officials told local media that the supplies did not begin being distributed until as late as Monday evening – more than a week after the first batch of emergency assistance arrived.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, the Indian government has strongly denied there is a delay, saying it had introduced a “streamlined and systematic mechanism” for distributing the supplies.

The health ministry of India said in the statement it is “working 24×7 to fast track and clear the goods”.

But on the ground, officials in some of India’s worst-hit states told that they had still not received any aids.

Kerala – which recorded a record 37,190 new coronavirus infections earlier this week – had still not received any aid by Wednesday evening, the state’s health secretary, Dr Rajan Khobragade, said in an interview with BBC.

Prinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s chief minister, separately called on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “urgently” send Kerala some of the country’s much-needed oxygen imports.

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