Covid-19: UK promises to send oxygen factories to India

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With the COVID-19 pandemic biting hard in India, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said that the United Kingdom is supporting the country with three container-sized oxygen factories.

Raab, in a tweet on Wednesday, said, “We stand with our Indian friends in their fight against COVID-19. The next package of UK support includes 3 container-sized oxygen factories to help Indian hospitals care for the most vulnerable.”

The number of people who have died with complications resulting from coronavirus has surged above 200,000.

At a press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “large-scale oxygen production equipment” was being donated by Northern Ireland which could deliver more than 1,000 litres of oxygen per minute.

He said the UK stood “side by side with the people of India in these troubled times”, but said that donating vaccines was not possible as Britain does not have excess doses.

Dire oxygen shortages are being experienced in India as many hospitals run out, leaving families desperately trying to source some privately to help their loved ones stay alive.

The UK has already sent around 200 ventilators and oxygen concentrators to India, with more on the way.

The country on Wednesday, also reported 362,757 new infections – another global record, taking its total over 17.9 million.

India has called in its armed forces to support the health system, with Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat saying oxygen supplies would be released from military reserves and retired medical workers will help civilian doctors.

The UK is among the countries to have offered help and the US has promised raw materials for vaccine production, boosting India’s ability to manufacture more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

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