Boris Johnson

UK sends 1,000 ventilators to India, pledges more assistance

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Sunday that the United Kingdom is sending an additional 1,000 ventilators to India, as the country continues to battle a surge in COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 deaths in India exceeded 3,000 for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday, when health officials reported 3,689 fatalities over a 24-hour period, which marked the country’s largest single-day total.

The number of cases decreased slightly on Sunday, with just over 392,000 reported. On Saturday, the country recorded more than 400,000 cases for the first time, becoming the first country to see more than 400,000 infections in a 24-hour period.

According to a press release from the U.K. government, the country’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, have spoken with their Indian counterparts “to provide advice, insight and expertise to the Indian healthcare system as it deals with the world’s worse surge in Covid levels.”

The country’s National Health Service is also establishing a clinical advisory group to “support India’s Covid response” by sharing “experience on managing Covid outbreaks.”

Additionally, the U.K. government announced that Johnson will hold a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to agree on a range of commitments in an effort to “deepen cooperation between the UK and India, including on flighting the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The terrible images we have seen in India in recent weeks are all the more powerful because of the close and enduring connection between the people of the UK and India,” Johnson said in a statement.

“The UK will always be there for India in its time of need,” he added.

The UK government noted that Sunday’s round of aid comes after the country said last week that it was sending India 200 ventilators, 495 oxygen concentrators and 3 oxygen generation units.

India expanded its vaccination eligibility to all adults on Saturday, as the country tries to curb the current coronavirus outbreak.

The country, however, has struggled to make vaccines accessible and affordable to its nearly 1.4 billion population, due to a shortage in supplies and a delayed rollout.

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