Home / News / India /  Canada, S. Korea, Singapore, Mauritius announce aid to help India’s covid fight

NEW DELHI : Several more countries, including Canada, South Korea, Singapore and Mauritius, on Wednesday announced their assistance to India to deal with the world’s worst outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic so far, with the daily death toll breaching the 3,000 mark overnight.

Karina Gould, minister of international development, announced $10 million in funding for humanitarian assistance to the Canadian Red Cross to support the Indian Red Cross Society’s response to the devastating situation unfolding in India, according to a statement from the Canadian high commission in New Delhi.

“Canada’s contribution will support the procurement of essential supplies and medicines, including oxygen cylinders for clinics and ambulances," the high commission said.

The US, the UK, Germany, France, Russia, the European Union and Kuwait have already extended their assistance to help India fight the pandemic.

New Delhi is also looking to procure equipment, including cryogenic containers, oxygen-generating plants and oxygen concentrators, and medicines such as remdesivir, from Hongkong, the UAE, Thailand and Singapore, one person familiar with the matter said, seeking anonymity.

Scores of hospitals across the country are running out of oxygen and vital drugs to treat critically ill covid patients. While India produces oxygen, logistics to transport liquid medical oxygen is proving to be a nightmare considering the shortage of containers to ferry cylinders and concentrators and generating plants.

The countries extended help not in response to distress signals from the Indian government, but as part of a global initiative to contain the ferocious second wave of the infection, the person said when asked if India had changed its policy on not accepting aid from abroad—formulated in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami.

States are also free to procure equipment, medicines and vaccines from foreign governments and voluntary organizations, such as the Red Cross, to deal with the covid-19 outbreak, the person added.

Aid is expected this week from the UK, Russia and the US, he said. About 200 oxygen concentrators from Mauritius arrived in India on Wednesday.

Over 250 oxygen cylinders were ferried by Singapore Air Force’s C-130 transport aircraft, he added. The consignment was delivered to West Bengal, a statement from the high commission said.

Maliki Osman, minister in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s office and second minister for education and foreign affairs, handed over the humanitarian assistance to Indian high commissioner in Singapore P. Kumaran.

Aid from Russia, too, was to reach within 24 hours, he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday amid reports that the first batch of Sputnik vaccine will be arriving within days.

He said the US was expediting its support with the first batch of consignment likely to reach this week. Assistance from Ireland too is expected to land on Thursday.

Earlier, South Korea said it would provide India with oxygen concentrators, covid-19 diagnostic kits and other items. Health official Yoon Taeho, who announced aid for India, did not elaborate on the quantities, according to an AP report.

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