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New Delhi: France on Monday said it would provide India with 120 ventilators and 50,000 test kits to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic as India’s total number of covid-19 cases crossed 1.4 million.

A French Air Force aircraft will fly in the equipment and personnel on Tuesday. The Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft is equipped with a “Morpheus" kit that enables the transport of critically ill patients. French ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain will hand over the medical equipment to R.K. Jain, secretary general of the Indian Red Cross Society, on Tuesday.

The donation of the medical equipment and provision of technical expertise is in line with a recent announcement by President Emmanuel Macron, the French embassy said in a statement.

The medical assistance package includes 50 Osiris-3 ventilators, which are portable and easy to use, and 70 Yuwell 830 ventilators with “bilevel positive airway pressure" (BiPAP mode), which are non-invasive hospital ventilators for patients suffering from mild symptoms of covid-19, a statement from the French embassy said. The Osiris ventilators are useful for emergency transport, intra-hospital transfer and recovery, and have different modes, including non-invasive ventilation. The Yuwell 830 ventilators can be used to supply oxygen to lungs without intubation. France will also donate 50,000 high-quality serological IgG/IgM test kits and 50,000 nose and throat swabs and modes of medical transport, the statement from the French embassy said.

“As longstanding strategic partners, France and India are working together closely on the international response to the covid-19 pandemic as well as providing reciprocal assistance according to the needs of the two countries," the statement said.

In a letter dated 24 July made available by the French embassy, the French president thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India’s support to France with medical supplies earlier this year.

“When France was going through a critical phase of this public health crisis earlier this spring, India was by our side. It played a very important role with regard to medicines. I wish to thank you once again for having authorised the export of medicines essential for the treatment of critically ill patients. This gesture reflected the exceptional nature of the partnership between our two countries," Macron said in his letter.

“India, in turn, is going through a difficult phase of the crisis. In these painful times for your nation, I desired France to stand fully by your side. To this end, I directed that we be able to respond to the needs identified by your administration by extending aid that is exceptional in its scope and modalities," he said in his letter.

“I believe that it is during tough times that historic ties are forged and strengthened between nations," he added.

France had earlier extended financial support of 200 million euros to India through the French Development Agency (AFD) to boost social welfare systems and protect vulnerable people. French companies have contributed more than six million euros to India’s national relief funds as part of their covid-19 crisis response.

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