COVID-19: Russia delivers 20 tonnes of med supplies to India

COVID-19:  Russia delivers 20 tonnes of med supplies to India

New Delhi: Russia on Thursday delivered to India 20 tonnes of medical supplies mainly comprising oxygen concentrators, ventilators and medicines as part of its assistance to help the country deal with the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic that has gripped several states and union territories.

The medical supplies were brought to Delhi in two transport aircraft operated by Russia's EMERCOM, a state-run agency overseeing civil emergency services

The relief materials were delivered a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephonic conversation focusing on ways to contain the pandemic.

"Two urgent flights operated by the Russian EMERCOM arrived today which brought a cargo with a total weight of 20 tonnes. These are oxygen concentrators, lung ventilation equipment, monitors, medicines, including Coronavirus, and other essential pharmaceutical items," Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said.

He said the joint fight against the Coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important areas of cooperation between the two countries at present. "It also includes the forthcoming deliveries of the Sputnik V vaccine starting May 2021 and the subsequent facilitation of its production in India," he said.

The envoy said bilateral cooperation in the field of medical science included ways to deal with the new Coronavirus strains. "Russia is closely watching the situation in India, which is becoming more and more alarming with unprecedented spread of the Coronavirus infection. We sincerely empathise with the Indian people," he said in a statement released by the embassy.

He also mentioned India's emergency supplies of hydroxychloroquine to Russia as a gesture of goodwill when the pandemic unfolded last year. "We appreciate and remember it. This is the only way we can defeat the Coronavirus, by uniting our endeavours and supporting each other in difficult times," he said.

Kudashev said collective efforts and mutual respect should be the most "important recipe" to respond to any challenge.

"We hope that today's delivery of the Russian humanitarian assistance will become an effective contribution to the Indian government's efforts to provide emergency treatment to those who were affected by the COVID-19," he said.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson ArindamBagchi thanked Russia for the supplies.

"A longstanding and time-tested partner! Grateful for shipment of oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other medical supplies that arrived from Russia this morning in two aircraft," he tweeted.

Meanwhile, another shipment of medical supplies containing 120 oxygen concentrators arrived in India from the UK as part of British government's assistance.

As India battles a devastating second wave of Coronavirus pandemic, countries around the world have announced sending medical supplies to help it tide over the situation.

The leading countries that have announced assistance to India include the US, Russia, France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Singapore, Portugal, Sweden, New Zealand, Kuwait and Mauritius.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) airlifted 13 empty cryogenic oxygen tankers from Bangkok, Singapore and Dubai to India on Thursday. India is struggling with the second wave of the Coronavirus infection as hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

The IAF is currently transporting empty cryogenic oxygen tankers from three destinations outside India, a statement issued by it said.

Three tankers from Bangkok, four from Singapore and six from Dubai were airlifted to India using the C-17 aircraft, it added. The IAF is also conducting multiple domestic flights to transport oxygen tankers and cylinders within the country.

It said three oxygen tankers were taken from Hindon to Ranchi, two from Chandigarh to Ranchi, two from Chandigarh to Bhubaneswar, four from Mumbai to Bhubaneswar, two from Lucknow to Ranchi and two from Jodhpur to Jamnagar on Thursday.

The transportation of these tankers took place using the C-17 aircraft, the IAF added.

It said it also airlifted 75 empty oxygen cylinders from Vadodara to Hindon using its C-130 aircraft. Since last Friday, the IAF has been airlifting empty oxygen tankers and containers to various filling stations across the country to speed up the distribution of the much-needed medical oxygen in treating COVID-19 patients.

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