News, Policy & Media

27Apr

UK provides major package of aid for Indian COVID-19 pandemic - Member assistance welcomed

Medical aid and equipment being sent to India from the United Kingdom has arrived today as the country struggles to cope with a huge second wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths. India recorded 320,000 new infections on Tuesday, and deaths are now close to 200,000 in total. Hospitals are being consistently overwhelmed and funeral pyres have been seen burning across Indian cities as the death toll mounts even further. Many deaths have not been reported according to experts, and one source told BBC News that over the past week in Delhi alone some 1,158 deaths may have gone unrecorded.

The UK, US and France are offering up medical supplies such as much-needed oxygen concentrators, ventilators and even COVID-19 vaccine supplies as part of the international response to the crisis. Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said it was "international co-operation at work". President Biden’s administration has signalled that it could distribute up to 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and India is a prime recipient of such support. India has already begun offering vaccines to all adults, however there are concerns that supplies from two Indian sources (the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech), cannot even meet current demands for the over 45s. Vaccine doses are not part of the UK’s medical shipments as of yet, however it has sent over 600 supplies of equipment, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators, in its initial air package.

A World Health Organisation spokesperson stated that the organisation would send 4,000 ventilators to the stricken country as part of its support. As part of the UK response, DHSC has contacted the BIVDA membership in regards to potential supplies of COVID-19 tests for India. The COVID-19 Taskforce, set up by BIVDA to channel the UK’s diagnostic response to the virus, will be offering support to DHSC where possible and member companies have already show readiness to assist the Department’s efforts.

“The heart-breaking scenes in India show once again how awful this terrible disease is. We are determined to support the people of India through this very difficult time, and I am hugely grateful to those who have worked hard to make this initial delivery happen”, commented Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

The Department for International Trade are interested in BIVDA member companies who may be able to assist with supplies of lateral flow COVID-19 tests for India. Contact Jon if you are able to help and he can put you in touch with officials.

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