Germany and Australia are working to accelerate equipment such as oxygen production plants and ventilators to India to bolster the country’s Covid-19 response after record-breaking infections over the past few days.
The German Army will provide a large oxygen production plant and efforts are under way to transport the broad-spectrum antiviral drug Remdesivir among other drugs from emergency supplies, German ambassador Walter Lindner said on Monday.
The Australian government is considering donating non-invasive ventilators to India from supplies made at the height of last year’s Covid-19 pandemic, health minister Greg Hunt was quoted as saying by ABC News. The Australian Cabinet National Security Committee will meet on Tuesday to finalize aid to India.
In a separate development, Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration’s chief medical adviser, said the US could “actively consider” providing a vaccine from its stock of 30 million AstraZeneca Covid-19 injections to India.
On Monday, India set a global record for the increase in coronavirus infections for the fifth day in a row, with 352,991 cases reported since Sunday. The number of deaths also rose to an all-time high of 2,812, according to official data.
Lindner said Germany understands the urgency of the situation and authorities are “working day and night” to transport critical equipment and medical supplies to India. People across Europe have been touched by the sight of the loss emerging from India, he added.
The German Army will dispatch a large oxygen production plant and other authorities are working to supply large quantities of respirators, ventilators and Remdesivir and other medicines from Germany’s emergency stockpile.
In the private sector, Tata and Linde Group have partnered to provide more than 20 oxygen tanks to increase transport capacity between oxygen producers and Covid-19 hotspots, while more than 20 oxygen plants were purchased by the Indian side from a company in southern Germany. will be flown by the Indian Air Force, said Lindner.
Cooperation between UNICEF and Germany that started last year will be intensified to provide a cold chain for the vaccine, he added.
Australian Health Minister Hunt said a special request had been received from India for a physical supply of oxygen and authorities would check if there was any donated oxygen supply. The government can donate non-invasive ventilators from Australia’s national stockpile created last year.
“We are in a strong position up front because we don’t need them [ventilators] at this point, “said Hunt.
A clear picture of assistance from Australia is expected following the National Security Committee meeting on Tuesday.
Fauci told the program of the Week to ABC News that the US needs to do more to assist India’s current Covid-19 response. “I don’t think you can just leave,” he said.
He said discussions were ongoing “about really improving what we can do in the field – oxygen supply, drugs, testing, PPE, as well as looking into the medium and long term about how we can get a vaccine for these people, both right now, and in a situation where you’re helping them basically make their own vaccine ”.
Asked specifically if the Biden administration could help India with a stockpile of around 30 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has not yet been approved for use in the US, Fauci replied: “You know, I think that would be something ready for active consideration … talk about policy now with you, but I mean, it’s something you will definitely be actively considering. “
Those familiar with the developments said on condition of anonymity that essential equipment and supplies came to India as a combination of donations – such as assistance provided by Germany, Australia and the US – and commercial purchases, such as oxygen tanks transported from Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
People say China’s offer of support has not been taken up so far, and point out that Chinese officials’ tweets and statements about equipment being sent to India – such as tweets from the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka – are about 800 oxygen concentrators being transported by air. from Hong Kong to New Delhi on Sundays – involves commercial purchases made by Indian companies.
Chinese embassy spokesman Wang Xiaojian said in a statement that China “will encourage and guide Chinese companies to actively cooperate with India to facilitate the procurement of medical supplies”.