The United States on Wednesday deployed the first of several emergency COVID-19 relief shipments to India. The shipment includes 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, 960,000 rapid diagnostic tests, and 100,000 N95 masks. India is battling with one of the worst Covid-19 waves, with cases rising at an unprecedented pace in the past month.
Thanks to @US_TRANSCOM, @AirMobilityCmd, @Travis60AMW & @DLAmil for hustling to prepare critical @USAID medical supplies for shipping. As I've said, we’re committed to use every resource at our disposal, within our authority, to support India’s frontline healthcare workers. pic.twitter.com/JLvuuIgV46— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) April 29, 2021
The latest announcement builds on USAID's (US Agency for International Development) efforts to help India fight the pandemic. "USAID has provided over $23 million in assistance since the start of the pandemic, directly reaching nearly 10 million Indians," a statement said. The USAID will also procure 1,000 medical oxygen concentrators that will be used in 320 primary healthcare facilities.
US President Joe Biden had pledged on April 26, 2021, to mobilise support for India. The Biden administration has said it'll deliver supplies worth over $100 million in the coming days to India.
In addition, US state governments, private companies, non-government organisations, and thousands of Americans from across the country have mobilised to deliver vital oxygen, related equipment, and essential supplies for Indian hospitals.
The assistance flights will start arriving in India today and will continue into next week. "Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need," a White House statement said.
Overall, the United States is providing support in terms of oxygen support, oxygen concentrators, oxygen generation units, personal protective equipment, vaccine-manufacturing supplies, rapid diagnostic tests, among others.
The initial delivery of 1,100 cylinders will remain in India and can be repeatedly refilled at local supply centres, the statement said. The US will also deliver around 1,700 oxygen concentrators as part of the initial supply. These oxygen concentrators obtain oxygen from ambient air and provide options for flexible patient treatment.
Besides, the US has partnered with more than 1,000 Indian healthcare facilities to strengthen preparedness, including training over 14,000 people on infection prevention and control. India also received 200 state-of-the-art ventilators to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients from the US.