Commuters wearing face masks wait for their bus after work during a rush hour in New Delhi. AFP/Xavier Galiana
LONDON - Britain said on Sunday it was sending life-saving medical equipment to India, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators, as the south Asian country reels from record numbers of daily COVID-19 infections and deaths.
London will ship more than 600 pieces of equipment to New Delhi to support its fight against the virus, following a request from India and Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging the UK would do "all it can" to help.
"We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against COVID-19," Johnson said in a statement.
"Vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus.
"We will continue to work closely with the Indian government during this difficult time and I'm determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against the pandemic."
Until the crisis broke, Johnson had been due to travel to the country Sunday. But the three-day visit has been postponed.
Britain's Foreign Office, which is funding the aid, said the first shipment would leave the country Sunday, arriving in New Delhi in the early hours of Tuesday, with further shipments following later in the week.
In total, nine airline container-loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to the country, said the ministry.
"The UK is working closely with the Government of India to identify further assistance it can provide in the coming days," it added.