The first COVID-19 emergency aid supplies from the United States arrived in India on Friday, as the nation battles a deadly second wave that has strained the healthcare system.
The first of three special US flights carrying supplies to help India includes 400 oxygen cylinders and regulators donated by the state of California, 960,000 rapid diagnostic tests and 100,000 N95 masks provided by USAID and other hospital equipment. The materials were ferried in a C-5M Super Galaxy, one of the largest strategic airlift aircraft which landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and at least two more emergency flights are expected by May 3 in line.
“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” tweeted US Embassy along with the pictures of the supplies.
A tweet by External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi while welcoming the aid said, “A strategic partnership of global significance! Our healthcare partnership can help effectively tackle the global pandemic. Deeply appreciate the gift of 423 oxygen cylinders with regulators and other medical supplies from the USA.”
A C-17 Globemaster aircraft carrying the second emergency relief shipment is expected to reach India on Friday. It will include equipment donated by companies and individuals, said US officials.
The initial emergency assistance provided by the United States will include 1,100 oxygen cylinders, 1,700 concentrators to obtain oxygen from ambient air, multiple large-scale oxygen generation units capable of supporting up to 20 patients each, and additional mobile units to target specific shortages. A team of US experts will work alongside Indian staff on the ground to support oxygen generation units.
The White House said the support will also include raw materials for the Covishield vaccine that the US has re-directed from its order of manufacturing supplies. These materials would allow India to generate more than 20 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Earlier this week, the US pledged assistance to India in its fight against the second wave of Coronavirus much after the growing pressure.
With over 1.87 crore total cases, India has logged the second-highest number of Covid cases after the United States that has recorded 3.22 crore infections so far. More than 5.7 lakh people have died in the US since the start of the pandemic; 2.08 lakh deaths have been recorded in India.
As cases continue to rise, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and several other nations have also resolved to help India.