Tuesday 27 April 2021 10:37 am

First shipment of medical supplies arrives in Covid-stricken India from the UK

The first shipment of emergency medical supplies have landed in India today from the UK, as the country’s infection rates have soared in recent weeks.

The supplies form part of a global campaign to curtail India’s sudden increase in infections, with the US offering to export 60m of AstraZeneca vaccine doses.

India has reported over 350,000 new infections today alone.

Read more: Even as India grapples with a growing crisis, strong trade ties with the UK are still at the top of the agenda

The country’s infection and death rates have begun to overwhelm hospitals, which starkly contrasts with the situation in the UK where restrictions are beginning to ease.

100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators from the UK arrived at Delhi airport early this morning, the first emergency medical supplies to arrive in the country since its latest spike.

“People are just dying, dying and dying,” said Jitender Singh Shanty, who has been coordinating the cremation of around 100 bodies a day at a site in the east of Delhi.

Read more: Mortuaries in India overwhelmed as desperate relatives plead for oxygen outside hospitals

“If we get more bodies then we will cremate on the road. There is no more space here.”

France is also sending oxygen generators that can provide year-long oxygen for 250 beds, its embassy said.

India has called on its armed forces to help tackle the devastating crisis, with its chief of defence staff general, Bipin Rawat, saying on Monday that oxygen would be released from armed forces reserves and retired medical personnel would join struggling health facilities.

Read more: UK to send vital medical equipment to India to fight Covid surge