Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Covid-19: Vital medical supplies from UK reach India but doctors brace for worse to come
27 April 2021, 07:58
Vital medical supplies from the UK landed in India on Tuesday morning but doctors fear there is still worse to come as coronavirus continues to overwhelm the country with thousands dying each day.
A chartered Lufthansa flight carrying tonnes of equipment, including 100 ventilators and 95 much-needed oxygen concentrators as the country faces a critical shortage of the life-saving gas.
Celebrating the arrival of the supplies, India's Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi tweeted: "International cooperation at work!
"Appreciate the shipment of vital medical supplies from (the UK) including 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators that arrived early this morning."
Other nations, including the US, Germany, Israel, France and Pakistan have also promised to deliver critical aid to India, with White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients saying the Biden administration was working to satisfy "key requests" from the Indian government.
The countries have pledged to supply oxygen, diagnostic tests, treatments, ventilators and protective gear to help country as it faces a desperate situation, which World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday called "beyond heartbreaking".
International cooperation at work! Appreciate the shipment of vital medical supplies from 🇬🇧 including 100 ventilators & 95 oxygen concentrators that arrived early this morning. pic.twitter.com/MBZFwSn4cH— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) April 27, 2021
In another glimmer of hope, the first of a series of special 'Oxygen Express' trains carrying 70 tonnes of gas arrived in India's capital New Delhi early on Tuesday morning and is being distributed to hospitals in dire need.
The past week has seen health officials exasperated as they scramble to find and buy just hours of oxygen at a time for their patients.
Meanwhile, the country of nearly 1.4 billion people reported more than 320,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Tuesday.
The health ministry also reported another 2,771 deaths in 24 hours - an average of one person dying with the virus every 30 seconds.
The new infection figures have raised India's total past 17.6 million - behind only the United States - and will see thousands more families bartering for hospital beds for their loved ones in the coming weeks.
The country is facing a chronic shortage of space on its intensive care wards, with many critically ill people being denied medical treatment forced to return home.
In an attempt to reverse the situation, officials are opting to convert train carriages into hospital isolation wards.
Many makeshift facilities for mass burials and cremations have also been built as the country's funeral services became overwhelmed last week.
With infections remaining worryingly high, officials and healthcare staff fear there is still worse to come.