Over 40 countries offer help to India to combat COVID-19: foreign secretary

Thursday, 2021-04-29 17:12:05
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A hospital worker adjusts the oxygen cylinders to supply oxygen through the central pipeline for the patients at a private hospital in Kolkata, India, April 28, 2021. (Source: Xinhua)
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Over 40 countries have committed their support and help with medical supplies, particularly the oxygen generating equipment, in order to help India combat the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday.

India has been badly gripped by the second wave of the pandemic, as nearly 380,000 new cases and 3,645 deaths were registered on Thursday, bringing the total tally to 18,376,524 and the death toll to 204,832.

When addressing to media on international cooperation on the COVID-19 pandemic, the official in the Ministry of External Affairs said that international help was accepted for meeting the immediate needs.

"We are looking for help to meet our short-term needs, before our domestic industry gears up its capacity building to meet the medium and long term requirements," Shringla told media.

He further said that India's embassies and missions abroad were in touch with the respective country's governments, private industry, associations, pharmaceutical industry etc. to get the necessary medical requirements to address the country's needs in these "unprecedented and quite exceptional times."

According to him, while a few cargo flights had already reached India from a couple of countries, including Russia, many flights were expected to land with loads of medical supplies, particularly oxygen generating equipment, in the next couple of days.

He said that at present India's capacity was to manufacture around 67,000 vials of Remdesivir in a day, and the capacity could be expanded to 300,000-400,000.

"We've prioritized certain areas, liquid oxygen is one of the areas that has been a priority. We've also seen the requirement for any equipment that produces oxygen - oxygen generators, concentrators, cryogenic tankers, transportation equipment for oxygen," said the foreign secretary.

"We have also needed some urgent pharmaceutical products like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab. Although we produce Remdesivir given the requirements the production has not been adequate to meet the immediate shortfall," he added.