• Sunday, October 02, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

UK sends life-saving support for India, again

Relatives wearing protective gear prepare for the burial of a victim who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during the funeral at a graveyard in Srinagar on May 7, 2021. (Photo by ABID BHAT/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE UK sent three 18-tonne oxygen generators and 1,000 ventilators on Friday (7) as part of the UK’s latest response to India’s Covid-19 crisis.

Airport staff at Belfast worked through the night to load the life-saving kit, funded by the foreign, commonwealth & development Office, aboard the massive Antonov 124 aircraft, world’s largest cargo plane.

They are expected to reach India on Sunday (9), where the Indian Red Cross will help transfer them to hospitals, a statement said

Each of the three oxygen generation units – the size of 40ft freight containers – produces 500 litres of oxygen per minute, enough for 50 people to use at a time.

This support, previously announced, is in addition to 200 ventilators and 495 oxygen concentrators, which the UK sent to India in late April.

It comes following discussions with India and a pledge from prime minister Boris Johnson for the UK to do all it can to help.

“The UK is sending surplus oxygen generators from Northern Ireland to India. This life-saving equipment will support the country’s hospitals as they care for vulnerable Covid patients. The UK and India are working together to tackle this pandemic. No-one is safe until we are all safe,” said foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

Northern Ireland health minister, Robin Swann, was at Belfast International Airport to welcome the arrival of the plane last night. The offering by Northern Ireland’s health service is in addition to 1,000 ventilators offered by the department of health and social care.

“It is our moral duty to help and support where we can. Oxygen supply is under severe stress in India’s health system and the three oxygen generation units that we are sending today are each capable of producing 500 litres of oxygen per minute,” said Swann.

“I sincerely hope this equipment goes some way to easing the pressure and pain the country is currently experiencing.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “As we battle this global pandemic together, the vital equipment we are providing, including ventilators and oxygen generators, will help save lives and support India’s healthcare system. “

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