UK considers sending drugs and equipment to help India's Covid struggle

23 April 2021, 20:30 | Updated: 23 April 2021, 20:37

India is struggling to contain its surging Covid-19 outbreak
India is struggling to contain its surging Covid-19 outbreak. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

The UK is looking into sending vital drugs and equipment to India as the country continues to grapple with surging Covid-19 cases.

Understaffed hospitals in India are struggling with the influx of patients and there are concerns about the supply of oxygen.

There are also worries about a variant first identified there, which led to the country being placed onto the UK's red list.

Boris Johnson, who cancelled a trip to India on Monday, said: "We're looking at what we can do to help and support the people of India, possibly with ventilators."

Read more: Travel restrictions for passengers entering UK from India as country added to red list

He added: "Thanks to the ventilator challenge, the huge efforts of British manufacturers, we're better able now to deliver ventilators to other countries."

"But also possibly with therapeutics, Dexamethasone, other things, we'll look at what we can do to help."

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India's addition to the UK's red list means anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident, or a British citizen, is banned from entering if they were in the country in the last 10 days.

Anyone who qualifies will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

On Thursday, India reported more than 314,000 new cases – the highest daily total recorded anywhere in the world.

It also has the second highest number of cases globally, with 15.9 million. Only the US has reported more.

Johns Hopkins University says 186,000 have died from Covid-19 in India.

The variant first detected in India, B.1.617, was noted internationally in October and first identified in the UK in February. More than 100 cases of it have since been detected in the UK.

Public Health England is unsure if it can transmit more easily or evade vaccine protection.