Washington, April 29
The United States will be delivering Covid relief materials worth over USD100 million to India in the coming days, the White House said as the first flight carrying urgent health supplies left for the country.
The flight took off from the Travis Air Force Base on the world’s largest military aircraft on Wednesday night, the US Agency for International Development said.
The shipment includes 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, generously donated by the state of California, USAID said.
In addition, on this first flight, USAID is sending 960,000 Rapid Diagnostic Tests to identify infections early to help prevent the community spread of Covid, and 100,000 N95 masks to protect India’s frontline health-care heroes, it added.
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 to Indian hospitals during the current outbreak, the White House said.
Asserting that this reflects America’s solidarity with India as it battles a new wave of COVID-19, the White House said that the immediate emergency assistance includes oxygen support, oxygen concentrators, oxygen generation units, personal protective equipment, vaccine manufacturing supplies and rapid diagnostic tests.
According to the White House, an initial delivery of 1,100 cylinders will remain in India and can be repeatedly refilled at local supply centres, with planeloads more to come.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has also locally procured oxygen cylinders and will deliver them to support hospital systems in coordination with the Government of India, it said.
The US is providing Oxygen Generation Units (PSA Systems) as well.
“Multiple large-scale units to support up to 20 patients each, and additional mobile units will provide an ability to target specific shortages. A team of US experts will support these units, working hand-in-hand on the ground with Indian medical personnel,” the White House said.
The US is further providing 15 million N95 masks to protect both patients and Indian health-care personnel.
The Biden administration has re-directed its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India. This will allow India to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the White House said.
According to a factsheet issued by the White House, the US is providing the first tranche of a planned 20,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug remdesivir to help treat hospitalised patients.
Further, the CDC experts will work hand-in-hand with India’s experts in the areas of laboratory, surveillance and epidemiology, bioinformatics for genomic sequencing and modelling, infection prevention and control, vaccine rollout, and risk communication, it said.
Observing that the US and India have closely worked together to respond to the pandemic, the White House said American COVID-19 assistance has reached more than 9.7 million Indians across more than 20 states and union territories.
The US has partnered with more than 1,000 Indian health-care facilities to strengthen preparedness, including training of over 14,000 people on infection prevention and control, it said. PTI