A medical oxygen generation plant, which has been sent by Italy to tackle the COVID-19 health emergency in India and can support 100 patients at one time, was operationalised at a CAPF hospital located in Greater Noida on Thursday.
The machinery for the plant was brought to the country onboard a special flight few days back and the Centre had deployed it at the CAPF referral hospital that is operated by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
"Italian Ambassador to India Vincenzo De Luca switched on the plant at a ceremony that was attended by senior ITBP officers. The plant has been installed and made operational at the hospital campus within 48 hours," a spokesperson for the border guarding force said, reported ANI.
It will supply medical oxygen to more than 100 COVID-19 beds available at this hospital, he added.
The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) hospital primarily caters to the personnel of various police and paramilitary organisations, their families, veterans of these forces that function under the command of the Union Home Ministry.
Luca spoke at the event and said the plant will be at this hospital "permanently" and it was a sign of friendship and solidarity between the two countries.
He also recounted how some Italian tourists (about 17) in India were treated by the ITBP medical setup when they contracted the coronavirus infection last year.
"After 48 hrs our team with ITBP have been able to make oxygen production machine working. It's a sign of capacity of Italy and India to work together in a spirit of friendship and solidarity. This plant will supply oxygen to more than 100 beds at a time," the Ambassador said, news agency ANI reported.
Senior ITBP officers present on the occasion said the government and people of India have "big gratitude" for the human gesture shown by Italy.
The country is grappling with an acute shortage of oxygen beds in hospitals apart from medicines and other life-saving medical care as a ferocious COVID-19 second wave is continuing over the last few weeks.
Coronavirus cases and deaths in the country hit a record daily high with over 4.12 lakh new infections and 3,980 fatalities, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,10,77,410 and the death toll to 2,30,168, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.