Reference:Businessline | Updated:28 April 2021
As India battles a devastating second wave of coronavirus, many countries including China have extended their hands to help the country whose hospitals are running out of oxygen supplies.
India on Monday reported 352,991 new COVID-19 cases, setting a new daily infection record for the fifth consecutive day. It ordered its armed forces to help tackle the surge.
Indian Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The situation in the world's second most populous country is "beyond heartbreaking," said World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday, adding that the organization is rushing to help address the crisis.
"WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies, including thousands of oxygen concentrators, prefabricated mobile field hospitals and laboratory supplies," Tedros told a briefing, adding 2,600 staff members were deployed to work with Indian authorities to help respond to the pandemic.
Nations including China, France, Germany and the United States pledged to send urgent medical aid.
China has expressed its willingness to help more than once in the past few days as the COVID-19 situation in India began to worsen, saying it is discussing aid with India and will provide support within its capacity if requested.
Chinese associations and companies have been responding to India's SOS calls recently. On Monday, 800 oxygen concentrators were airlifted from China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Delhi and 10,000 more will be sent in a week, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka tweeted on Monday.
The tweet also said that "China is keeping in touch with India regarding urgent needs."
On the same day, the Chinese Embassy in India expressed sincere condolences to the people of India, and said China is encouraging Chinese companies to provide pandemic prevention and control supplies and other support India needs.
Meanwhile, medical suppliers across China are receiving a surge in orders from India, Global Times reported, citing Jiangsu Yuyue Medical Equipment as an example. The company has received an order for about 18,000 oxygen machines from Indian medical institutions in recent days.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announced on April 22 that it will donate Rs 3 crore to procure over 1,000 oxygen concentrators for hospitals across states in India.
On Tuesday, foreign ministers from China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will hold a video conference on tackling COVID-19, according to the official website of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A number of European Union (EU) member states will offer their assistance to India to help tackle the pandemic resurgence, the European Commission said on Monday.
India is in dire need of medical oxygen and anti-viral drugs, said Balazs Ujvari, the commission's spokesperson for humanitarian aid and crisis management.
Ireland has confirmed it will send 700 oxygen concentrators to India, France is said to provide significant oxygen capacity support to India by sending respirators as early as next week by plane and Germany is assessing the possibility of providing a mobile oxygen generator and other medical equipment.
In a phone call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden said Washington "is providing a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials and therapeutics."
New Delhi has extended the coronavirus lockdown by one week until May 3.
Modi tweeted that his administration would set up 551 oxygen generation plants in "every district to ensure adequate oxygen availability."