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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday expressed solidarity with the people of India battling coronavirus that has unleashed widespread devastation across the neighbouring state.

“I want to express our solidarity with the people of India as they battle a dangerous wave of COVID-19. Our prayers for a speedy recovery go to all those suffering from the pandemic in our neighbourhood and the world,” the PM tweeted.

“We must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together,” he added. His statement came as India remains badly affected by coronavirus.

The data suggests that over 16.6 million people in India have been affected by COVID-19 out of which over 2.5 million are active cases. Till Friday evening, the number of total deaths in India due to coronavirus had reached 190,000 whereas some 9,000 people were in critical condition.

On Thursday, India was said to have recorded 314,835 new cases in 24 hours, the world’s highest number of Covid cases in a single day.

The ever-increasing number of coronavirus cases has caused severe oxygen shortage in India and the healthcare system in several parts of the neighbouring country is also enormously overstressed. Footages have emerged on social media of different parts of India featuring COVID-19 patients lying at the public places—pavements, footpaths and roadsides— as hospitals have exhausted their capacity to treat the patients. The Covid-19 is also posing serious challenges in Pakistan where the total number of Covid cases exceeded 790,000, out of which nearly 87,000 were active cases and total number of deaths was over 17,000 (till Friday evening). Over 4,700 patients were in critical condition.

On Friday, PM Khan announced that he has assigned Pakistan Army to assist the civilian administrative machinery in implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to help stem the alarming spread of Covid-19.

In addition, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan said Friday said that 90 per cent of Pakistan’s main oxygen capacity was being exhausted in treatment of Covid patients—in what came as a grim reminder that oxygen supplies in Pakistan would meet their capacity in near future if coronavirus cases kept witnessing an alarmingly upward trend.

Meanwhile, the PM on Saturday urged the Muslim world to join hands to combat Islamophobia, saying that his government is approaching heads of all Muslim states in this regard.

“Muslim nations should work collectively to fight Islamophobia,” he wrote in a tweet.

“My government believes in approaching the heads of all Muslim nations so that a collective strategy could be formulated to deal with Islamophobia,” the tweet added.

Meanwhile, as a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of Covid-19, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support to India including ventilators, BiPAPs, digital X ray machines, PPEs, and related items.

In a statement on Saturday, the Foreign Office spokesperson, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, said that the concerned authorities of Pakistan and India can work out modalities for quick delivery of the relief items.

“They can also explore possible ways of further cooperation to mitigate the challenges posed by the pandemic,” the spokesperson further suggested. The statement comes in the wake of the current grave situation posed by the coronavirus in neighbouring India.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021