GG News Bureau
New Delhi, 3rd May. India’s fight against a surge in coronavirus cases will be reinforced by new UK Government support announced by the Prime Minister today. 1,000 ventilators will be sent from the UK’s surplus supply to Indian hospitals to help the most severe Covid cases. This is in addition to 200 ventilators, 495 oxygen concentrators and 3 oxygen generation units the UK announced we were sending to India last week.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance have also spoken to their Indian counterparts to provide advice, insight and expertise to the Indian healthcare system as it deals with the world’s worst surge in Covid levels.
NHS England is also establishing a clinical advisory group led by Chief People Officer Prerana Isaar to support India’s Covid response. The group will work with Indian institutions such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to share experience on managing Covid outbreaks. The group will include researchers in public and global health, alongside nursing and other health professionals who have experience of the Indian healthcare system.
In a powerful demonstration of what Indian Prime Minister Modi has called the ‘living bridge’ between our countries, over the last week British people have come to the support of India in huge numbers. Businesses, civil society and the wider public have responded to appeals for help and launched funding drives.
This includes the British Asian Trust’s ‘Oxygen for India’ emergency appeal, which is raising funds for oxygen concentrators to be rapidly deployed to Indian hospitals. The BAT appeal, which has been personally backed by the Prince of Wales, has raised more than £1.5m in the last week.
Virgin Atlantic also flew 200 boxes of oxygen concentrators to Delhi on Saturday, after partnering with Khalsa Aid. Further cargo space will be given free of charge on 6 flights to India in the next week, in association with The Red Cross.
India has also provided support to the UK throughout the coronavirus pandemic. As the ‘pharmacy of the world’ the country has kept its borders open to supply the UK with vital medicine and PPE – exporting over 11 million face masks and 3 million packets of paracetamol over the course of 2020.
On Tuesday the Prime Minister will hold a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Modi to agree a huge range of commitments to deepen cooperation between the UK and India, including on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.