India reaches out to allies in Europe for medical aid to fight pandemic
In panic, Indian embassies have reached out to their host nations in Europe for help as the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has triggered a massive crisis across India.
Official sources told IANS that embassies are seeking empty, refillable Oxygen cylinders with 10 litres and 45 litres Liquid Medical Oxygen capacity; Oxygen concentrators; in situ Oxygen manufacturing plants for hospitals; and Remdesivir from the European Union member states.
The embassies, sources said, have asked India's allies in Europe to gift all the medical aid to the Indian Red Cross, which will further ship it to India.
In all, India has had 17 million people infected with Covid-19 so far, out of which 14.1 million have recovered. Till Sunday, India reported 192,000 deaths due to the contagious disease since the pandemic hit the world last year.
Of all the states, Maharashtra has reported the largest number of cases and deaths, followed by Kerala and Karnataka. In Maharashtra alone, 4.23 people tested positive for Covid-19 and around 64,000 people have died so far due to the contagious virus.
India's capital New Delhi was placed under a lockdown last week after the second wave hit it badly. The lockdown in the national capital has been extended by another week.
The second wave, according to virologists, has been caused by a virulent mutation which attacks all age groups with severe ferocity. India has so far administered 140 million vaccine shots to its people.
As the second wave crisis unfolded in the country, India's allies across the world like Israel, France, Saudi Arabia, Singapore came forward to help even as the US sat on the Indian request for waiving the ban on export of raw material for vaccine manufacturing for weeks. As against the US, UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson was swift in offering medical assistance to India.
After public pressure and worldwide criticism with many calling it "crime against humanity", the Joe Biden administration on late Sunday decided to lift its ban on the raw material for vaccine production.