First emergency Covid-19 relief shipment from US arrives in India amid second wave
The first consignment of Covid-19 assistance from the United States arrived in India on Friday as the country battles the second and deadlier wave of the coronavirus pandemic amid stretched health infrastructure, the US embassy said. “The first of several emergency COVID-19 relief shipments from the United States has arrived in India! Building on over 70 years of cooperation, the United States stands with India as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic together. #USIndiaDosti,” the US embassy tweeted.
The first shipment from the US includes 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators donated by the state of California and 960,000 rapid diagnostic tests and 100,000 N95 masks provided by USAID.
On Sunday, the US promised to provide India raw material urgently needed for making the Covishield vaccine and supply of equipment like ventilators and oxygen generation gear to support the country’s response to a massive surge in Covid-19 cases. “Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need,” the White House said in a statement earlier.
The US has also redirected its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow it to make over 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the White House.
“Just as India came to our aid early in the pandemic, the U.S. is committed to working urgently to provide assistance to India in its time of need. Today we are proud to deliver our first shipment of critical oxygen equipment, therapeutics and raw materials for vaccine production,” state secretary Antony Blinken said in a tweet on Thursday.
According to officials cited by news agency PTI, the US hopes that its assistance to India has a catalytic effect on society and countries around the world to aid the nation in the time of the Covid-19 crisis.
US state governments, private companies, non-governmental organisations, and thousands of Americans from across the country have mobilised to deliver vital oxygen-related equipment and essential supplies for hospitals in India to assist frontline healthcare workers and the people worst affected due to the virus outbreak, state department spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday.