World’s largest cargo plane carries three oxygen plants to India from UK
The UK is sending three 18-tonne oxygen generation plants, each capable of producing 500 litres a minute, on board the world’s largest cargo plane to help India overcome a severe shortage of oxygen amid a devastating second wave of Coronavirus infections.
The oxygen generation plants from the UK’s surplus stocks and 1,000 ventilators will be ferried from Belfast on Friday by an Antonov An-124 aircraft. Airport staff worked through the night to load the life-saving equipment funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Each of the three oxygen generation plants – the size of 40-foot freight containers – produces 500 litres of oxygen a minute, enough for 50 people to use at a time. They are expected to reach India on Sunday morning, and the Indian Red Cross Society will transfer them to hospitals.
The latest support package is in addition to 200 ventilators and 495 oxygen concentrators that the UK sent to India last month. It follows discussions with India and a pledge from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the UK to do all it can to help, the UK foreign office said.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said: “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-19 patients.
“The UK and India are working together to tackle this pandemic. No-one is safe until we are all safe.”
In a separate development, the Japanese embassy announced on Friday that 100 oxygen concentrators will be sent to India on May 8 as part of the first batch of emergency assistance from Japan in response to the surge of Covid-19 infections.
The Japanese government had announced on April 30 that it will provide a total of 300 oxygen concentrators and 300 ventilators to India. “Japan will continue to extend further support promptly in order to contain the Covid-19 situation in India,” the embassy said.
On May 5, Japanese foreign minister Yoshihide Motegi told his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar that Japan is ready to provide grant assistance of up to $50 million (about 5.5 billion yen) to India in addition to the other assistance.