COVID-19: Foreign aid arrives in India

A patient rests inside a banquet hall temporarily converted into a COVID-19 coronavirus ward in New Delhi. AFP/Money Sharma

NEW DELHI - The first emergency medical supplies trickled into Covid-stricken India on Tuesday as part of a global campaign to staunch a catastrophic wave in the latest pandemic hotspot, with the United States also pledging to export millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses.

India's infection and death rates are growing exponentially, overwhelming hospitals, in contrast to some wealthier Western nations that are starting to ease restrictions.

READ: UK sending 'vital medical equipment' to India to aid COVID-19 fight

The virus has now killed more than 3.1 million people worldwide, with India driving the latest surge in global case numbers, recording over 350,000 new infections on Tuesday.

Crates of ventilators and oxygen concentrators from Britain were unloaded at a Delhi airport early Tuesday, the first emergency medical supplies to arrive in the country.

Elsewhere in the capital AFP images showed smoke billowing from dozens of pyres lit inside a parking lot that has been turned into a makeshift crematorium.

"People are just dying, dying and dying," said Jitender Singh Shanty, who is coordinating the cremation of around 100 bodies a day at the site in the east of the city.

READ: India virus surge drives record global daily cases

"If we get more bodies then we will cremate on the road. There is no more space here."

The United States, France, Germany, Canada and the World Health Organization have all promised to rush supplies to India.

President Joe Biden announced on Monday the United States would send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine abroad.


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