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How the world has extended a helping hand to India amid Covid tsunami

As India continues to battle a massive second wave of Covid, several countries have come forward extending help.

Vijai Laxmi Vijai Laxmi
New Delhi Updated on: April 28, 2021 0:09 IST
How the world has extended a helping hand to India amid Covid tsunami
Image Source : PTI

How the world has extended a helping hand to India amid Covid tsunami 

As India continues to battle a massive second wave of Covid, several countries have come forward extending help. US President Joe Biden, spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, and committed that the United States and India will work closely together in the fight against COVID-19. The President pledged America’s steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Announcements made by various countries

United Kingdom:

The UK made announcement that 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to India this week. Out of these 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators already arrived on 27 April, 2021.

France:

France would send relief material in two phases. 

Phase I: (Arriving this week)

  • Eight large Oxygen Generating Plants that can be installed quickly.
  • Liquid Oxygen
  • Respiratory material - 28 respirators and their consumables and 200 electric syringe pushers.

Phase II: (Arriving next week)

  • 5 liquid oxygen containers

Ireland:

Ireland is to send 700 Oxygen concentrators this week.

Germany:

  • Mobile oxygen production plant (will be made available  for 3 months
  • 120 ventilators. 
  • More than 80 million KN95 masks.
  • Webinar on testing, RNA sequencing of Coronavirus

Australia:

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 27 April, 2021 that Australia will send 500 ventilators, 1 million surgical masks, 500,000 P2 and N95 masks, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields.

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Support promised by others

Kuwait, Russia

COVID-19 medical supplies secured through private and other channels – As on 27 April 2021

Singapore:

 500 BiPAPs, 250 oxygen concentrators, 4 Cryogenic Oxygen Containers & other medical supplies

Saudi Arabia:

80 MT of liquid oxygen (en route via sea)

Hong Kong:

800 Oxygen Concentrators

Thailand:

4 Cryogenic Oxygen Tanks

UAE:

6 Cryogenic Oxygen Containers

Germany:

AFMS (Armed Forces Medical Services) is importing 23 mobile oxygen generation plants from Germany.

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Proposed US Assistance to India

The US Government Statements and Messages of Support

  • President Biden, spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi 0n 26 April, and committed that the United States and India will work closely together in the fight against COVID-19. The President pledged America’s steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. In response, the United States is providing a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and therapeutics.
  • President Biden acknowledged India’s assistance to US in the early days of pandemic and expressed his determination to help India in its time of need. He said “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need.”
  • There was a phone call between our NSA and US NSA Jake Sullivan on 25 April during which India’s COVID situation was discussed. US NSA Jake Sullivan stated U.S.’ concern about the COVID outbreak in India and mentioned efforts they are undertaking to deploy more supplies & support to friends and partners in India. 
  • Vice President Harris stated that the U.S. is working closely with the Indian government to rapidly deploy additional support and supplies. She conveyed prayers for the people of India and its healthcare workers.
  • Secretary of State Blinken expressed solidarity and reiterated that US is working closely with partners in GOI to rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India's health care heroes. 
  • Secretary of Defence Llyod Austin stated that he had directed Department of Defence to use every resource at their disposal, within its authority, to support U.S. interagency efforts to provide India’s frontline healthcare workers with the materials needed.
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Chair Representative Gregory Meeks welcomed the US announcement to provide support to India. 
  • Several Congressmen implored the Biden Administration to urgently provide support to India. Congressman Andy Kim stated that this is India’s moment of need and America must answer the call to help. Welcoming Biden administration’s  announcement, he called for release of AstraZeneca vaccine to India and other allies. 
  • Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy stated that Biden Administration's commitment to export raw materials needed for life-saving vaccines to India is an essential first step, but US must also ship AstraZeneca vaccine doses, oxygen concentrators, and other supplies in its stockpiles not being used. 
  • Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal called on US to reverse the denial of India’s request for raw vaccine materials and use its stockpile of unused vaccines to help India, and do everything else possible to assist India. She said that it was both the right and necessary thing to do as COVID-19 knows no geographic bounds. 
  • Representative Ilhan Omar requested President Biden to allow everyone to have access to the vaccine. 
  • Representative Ann Kirkpatrick applauded that Biden Administration is stepping up to help in this critical time of need.
  • Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey pledged support to India. 
  • Congressman Ro Khanna, Congressional India Caucus Vice Chair and Member of the House Armed Services Committee applauded the administration’s decision.
  • US officials such as Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman expressed solidarity with India. Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General conveyed a similar message. US Ambassador to UN stressed that the US is doing everything to help with the COVID-19 situation in India, including deploying vaccine materials, therapeutics, ventilators, public health teams, and financial support.

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Proposed assistance from US Government to India

Oxygen generation and related supplies.

  • Considering supply of different components such as oxygen transport, oxygen generation, oxygen cylinders, the oxygen supply chain.  
  • Pursuing options to provide oxygen generation systems (more details when available). 
  • Finalizing options for contracting oxygen, including cylinders.
  • Working on oxygen generation systems, including larger-scale as well as smaller-scale units.  They are exploring the provision of field oxygen generation systems, which US has used in its own field hospitals to provide oxygen for 50 to 100 beds.  (elements in exploration phase) 
  • Exploring options to provide oxygen concentrations and ventilators.  Already in technical discussions with India to ensure that the equipment supplied will connect to devices in India.  Will provide training associated with all of these requests as needed.
  • Preparing to help with transportation of these and other supplies to India.

Therapeutics, personal protective equipment, and tests

  • Identified U.S. commercial suppliers of Remdesivir that are immediately available. 
  • Identified rapid diagnostic testing supplies and PPEs to be transferred to India immediately.
  • Facilitating India’s own access to those supplies through U.S.-based sources. 

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Vaccine raw materials

  • USA will approve supply of filters required for manufacture of Covishield vaccines. 
  • US expects that there are approximately 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that could be released if and when FDA gives its concurrence in the coming weeks. An estimated additional 50 million doses that are in various stages of production, and these could be completed in stages across May and June. So, in sum, about 60 million doses of AstraZeneca that the U.S. could share with other countries as they become available over the next two months.  As these doses become available, the plans will be finalized as to where they would be sent. 

Technical expertise

  • USAID will work with CDC to support and fast-track mobilization of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund.
  • Under the Quad Vaccine Initiative, U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

US private sector’s COVID-19 assistance to India 

  • Google - Rs 135 Crore in funding to GiveIndia and UNICEF for medical supplies, orgs supporting high-riskcommunities, and grants to help spread critical information.
  • Gilead offered to HLL supply of 100,000 vials of Remdesivir free of cost. First and second consignments are expected to be shipped later this week. They can supply an additional amount of 200,000 vials by 31 May 2021. Some institutions in India will be provided raw material by Gilead for local production.
  • US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)– assistingwith 12 ISO containers to help transport oxygen in India. They will airlifting oxygen cylinders into India. Through donation ofmember companies, USISPF is sourcing 100,000 portable oxygen concentrators for use at home and hospitals to be shipped to India immediately. USISPF approached companies in US to supply and/or donate ICU beds, Covid-Test kits, N-95 Masks and other medical equipment.USISPF is working with member companies and NGO partners to set up vaccination and medical centers on corporate campuses. 
  • US-India Business Council (USIBC) membersstepped forward to offer resources for USIBC initiatives.
  • Procter & Gamble will contribute towards vaccination of over 5 lakh Indian Citizens by pledging Rs 50 crore in partnership with government and local authorities in India. For every P&G employee in India, the company is contributing towards the vaccination of 100 Indians. In addition, the company will cover vaccination cost of its over 5000 employee force in India, and their eligible immediate family members.
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement on 24 April urgingU.S. government to distribute its stockpiles of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and provide other lifesaving medical resources to India and other countries.
  • Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices.
  • Apple announced that they will be donating to support and relief efforts on the ground.
  • Amazon has joined hands with ACT Grants, Temasek Foundation, Pune Platform for COVID-19 Response (PPCR) and other partners to urgently airlift over 8000 oxygen concentrators and 500 BiPAP machines from Singapore. Additionally, Amazon India is also procuring over 1500 oxygen concentrators and other critical medical equipment that will be donated to hospitals and medical facilities.
  • Deloitte is working with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, the U.S.-India Business Council, the Business Roundtable and India’s Ambassador to the US to mobilize resources. More than forty CEOs of multinational companies came together this weekend to focus on immediate needs like oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and generators, home monitoring kits and critical medicines. 1,000 oxygen concentrators provided by Deloitte on 26 April 2021 and an additional 11,000 being sourced by the end of this week from my fellow CEO colleagues, will help the wider international effort to assist the people of India. 

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Meanwhile, a high level Inter-Ministerial group has established procedure for immediate clearance these materials. The material would be dispatched promptly to the recipient institutions in various parts of the country in coordination with various government agencies.

List of the countries and aid that they provided to India

India didn't seek help from anyone, however countries have extended their hand of support at their own. This could be because we had already exetended out help to several countries during first wave .

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