Saudi Arabia leads global support for coronavirus-battered India

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on his arrival at Palam Airport in New Delhi on Feb 19, 2019. (Photo: IANS/MEA)

JEDDAH (RAHNUMA) The European Union, United Kingdom, and the United States have joined the Kingdom in helping India battle a devastating surge of COVID-19 infections.

On Monday, India recorded 352,991 new infections and 2,812 deaths, a new global high for daily coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day.

The new infections brought India’s total to more than 17.3 million, behind only the United States.

Taking a lead, Saudi Arabia shipped 80 metric tons of liquid oxygen to India on Sunday as the South Asian country is running low on supplies amid an unprecedented surge in COVI-19 cases.

The supply shipment was undertaken in cooperation with the Adani group and Linde company.

“Embassy of India is proud to partner with Adani group and M/s Linde in shipping much-needed 80MT liquid oxygen to India. Our heartfelt thanks to the Ministry of Health Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for all their help, support, and cooperation,” the Indian mission in Riyadh tweeted on Sunday.

In response to the spiraling situation in the South Asian country, the European Union has activated its Civil Protection Mechanism, which is coordinating with member states to ship oxygen and medicine rapidly.

Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said she was “alarmed by the epidemiological situation in India. We are ready to support.”

“The EU is pooling resources to respond rapidly to India’s request for assistance,” she added.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also said that Germany “stands in solidarity with India and is urgently preparing a mission of support.”

“To the people of India, I want to express my sympathy for the terrible suffering that COVID-19 has again brought to your communities. The fight against the pandemic is our common fight,” she emphasized in a statement.

The UK on Sunday sent the first shipment of about 600 pieces of medical equipment, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told ITV.

“There will be a series of other shipments,” he added. “We need this kind of international collaboration if we’re going to get through this pandemic. We’re not going to be safe until we’re all safe.”

Germany and Italy have, as of Monday, closed their borders to travelers from India with only their residents allowed to enter provided they present a negative test. They will also have to quarantine upon arrival. The UK also announced similar measures last week.

President Joe Biden said the US was also determined to help. “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” Biden said in a tweet.

The White House said the US was “working around the clock” to deploy testing kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment, and it would seek to provide oxygen supplies as well. It said it would also make available sources of raw material urgently needed to manufacture Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India.

Saudi Arabia leads global support for coronavirus-battered India
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