US aid arrives in India to help in fight against Covid cases

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The first shipment of emergency help from the United States arrived in India on Friday, as the nation grapples with a crippling surge in Covid-19 cases that has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

A Super Galaxy military transporter carrying nearly one million rapid coronavirus tests and over 400 oxygen cylinders and other hospital equipment landed at New Delhi’s international airport.

India is currently experiencing a world-record infection rate of over 370,000 cases and 3,600 deaths every day, prompting a massive international aid operation with dozens of countries pledging assistance.

The delivery, which flew in from the Travis military base in California, followed talks this week between US President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The United States is delivering supplies worth more than $100 million in the coming days to provide urgent relief to our partners in India,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday.

US officials said the special flights, which will also bring equipment donated by companies and individuals, will continue into next week.

Japan became the latest to offer help, announcing Friday it would despatch 300 oxygen concentrators and 300 ventilators to India.

“Japan stands with India, our friend and partner, in her efforts to fight (the) Covid-19 pandemic through this additional emergency assistance,” the foreign ministry said.

More than 40 countries have committed to sending vital medical aid, particularly oxygen supplies, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters Thursday.

The supplies include almost 550 oxygen-generating plants, more than 4,000 oxygen concentrators, 10,000 oxygen cylinders as well as 17 cryogenic tankers.

Hundreds of thousands of doses of Covid-19 shots as well as raw materials to produce vaccines and medicines were also being sent, he said.

“It is an unprecedented situation,” Shringla said.

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