The United Kingdom and the European Union are sending ventilators, other medical equipment, and medicines to India.
The announcements came after the Indian government requested aid to help it fight a massive surge in COVID-19 cases as hospitals across the country turn away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock called the scenes in India “heartbreaking” and said that the UK is “determined to support the people of India through this very difficult time.”
The UK government said the first batch of its surplus ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices were due to leave the UK on Sunday and arrive in New Delhi early on Tuesday, with further shipments to follow within the week.
“In total, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators, and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to the country this week,” the government said in a statement.
The statement said the government is working closely with the Indian government to identify the assistance the UK can provide in the coming days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to work with the Indian government and make sure that “the UK does everything it can to support the international community.”
The European Commission has also activated its EU Civil Protection Mechanism and is seeking to send oxygen and medicine to India.
“Alarmed by the epidemiological situation in India. We are ready to support,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
“The EU executive is already coordinating with EU countries that are ready to provide urgently needed oxygen & medicine rapidly,” European Commission for humanitarian aid Janez Lenarcic wrote on Twitter.
The number of COVID-19 daily cases and deaths has grown exponentially in India since late March. On Saturday alone, 349,313 new cases and 2,761 new deaths were recorded.
A number of countries have banned travellers from India to prevent the spread of a variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that was first identified in that country in October 2020.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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