New Delhi: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Monday that the high commission in Delhi had apologized for asking not to use “normal channels and protocols” to search for oxygen cylinders, but pointed out that there was a staff member who was “very unwell”.
On Sunday, India’s foreign affairs minister S. Jaishankar tweeted with Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, claiming that the Youth Congress had sent two “unsolicited” oxygen cylinders to the Philippine embassy seeking “false publicity”.
One minute after Jaishankar tweeted his rebuttal, New Zealand’s high commission posted an urgent call for oxygen cylinders and tagged the head of the Indian Youth Congress, Srinivas BV
The chirp was later deleted, with the high commission adding that it was “trying all sources to immediately set up the oxygen cylinder”.
While Jaishankar did not specifically react to New Zealand’s high commission tweet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that it is responding to medical demands regarding COVID-19 from overseas missions. “Given the pandemic situation, all are urged not to stockpile on essential supplies, including oxygen,” MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said on Sunday.
As reported Wire on Sunday, both the Philippines and Kiwi overseas representatives have apologized for using Twitter for their SOS calls – both of which were answered by Srinivas and his team.
A day later, The New Zealand prime minister told a local television channel that the high commission has apologized, adding that there are “very unwell” patients in the complex.
“There is a message coming out. Our high commission has apologized that there is a channel they have to run into for such a problem, but we have to realize that there are local staff members in the compound who are very unwell, “he said. Local staff employed in overseas missions are Indian nationals.
Ardern stated that “there are other ways and channels” because the mission was “very well supported by the Indian government” through the pandemic.
He noted that the government is doing all it can “to keep both Kiwis and local residents working on the commission safe, including introducing bubble settings and strict protocols”.
The capital of India is one of the hotspots of the second wave of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic in India. It has faced huge deficits in oxygen supply to hospitals and private individuals, with courts forced to step in to monitor supplies on a daily basis.
Supreme Court has asked the Center to meet the daily demand for 700 metric tons of oxygen for Delhi – which is a 133% increase from the current 490 metric tons allocation. He asked that the deficit be met “on or before midnight on May 3”.
Nearly every foreign embassy in Delhi has witnessed several positive cases of COVID-19. CNN had reported last week that there were 100 cases among US diplomatic staff scattered across the country. There was no confirmation from the US embassy about this number.
Last week, the Tanzanian defense attaché died of COVID-19, becoming the first foreign diplomat in Delhi to die from the virus.