LONDON: The UK said Sunday it was sending an extra 1,000 oxygen ventilators to Covid-struck India, as a group of doctors staged their own intervention by offering long-distance telemedicine from Britain.
British authorities have already sent 495 oxygen concentrators and 200 ventilators to India as the country grapples with a devastating surge in coronavirus cases, and are shipping three larger production units, dubbed oxygen factories.
The 1,000 additional ventilators will come from British surplus capacity for Indian hospitals to help the most severe Covid cases, Downing Street said in a statement.
“The terrible images we have seen in India in recent weeks are all the more powerful because of the close and enduring connection between the people of the UK and India,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“The UK will always be there for India in its time of need,” he said, although Britain says it has no coronavirus vaccines to spare at this time.
The UK’s inoculation campaign has rested largely on AstraZeneca jabs made by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, and India provided much of Britain’s protective equipment and paracetamol last year at the pandemic’s height. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is set to meet Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Monday on the margins of G7 talks this week in London. Johnson is then due to hold a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, after cancelling a trip to New Delhi in light of the Covid crisis.