Millions of Indians are grappling with the deadly second wave of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic amid life-threatening medical supply shortages; by 21 April the country was seeing 300,000 new cases per day.
To help India in these times of crisis, the US has sent over 400 oxygen cylinders, around a million rapid coronavirus test kits as well as some other needed medical equipment.
This first batch of COVID-relief supplies from the US arrived at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in the early hours of Friday, loaded in a Super Galaxy military transport aircraft.
The Embassy of the US in India posted pictures of the supplies being unloaded in Delhi on Twitter, stating that the “United States stands with India as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic together”.
Earlier this week, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price had said that America will be “delivering supplies worth more than $100 million in the coming days to provide urgent relief to our partners in India”.
US President Joe Biden also spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week to discuss the pandemic.
“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” President Biden tweeted.
Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need. https://t.co/SzWRj0eP3y
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 25, 2021
Breaking all records, India on Friday reported 386,452 new cases in the preceding 24 hours, according to the federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry. The cumulative caseload stands at over 18.7 million (18,762,976) and the death toll from the virus has reached 208,330. India now has nearly 3.2 million active cases.
Indians are pleading for help on social media, sending SOS signals asking others to provide leads on available hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and medical supplies. Large cities like Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai have taken a major hit.
The public is outraged over the Modi government’s unpreparedness to tackle the predicted second wave of the virus and for at least three days, #ResignModi has been trending on social media.
Navjot Dahiya, the national vice-president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) went so far as to call Prime Minister Modi a “super spreader” of the second wave of the virus, reproaching him for addressing mass gatherings and public roadshows amid the recently-held Assembly Elections in five Indian states, the results of which are due on 2 May.
Indians are questioning PM Modi’s vision of “self-reliant India” when other countries including Germany, UK, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Pakistan and Bhutan, among others, are providing life-saving supplies to India.
On 29 April, India received its first shipment of COVID-related relief from Russia, with more than 20 tonnes of material including oxygen concentrators and the “Coronavir” drug, which is being used as a substitute for Remdesivir in the South Asian country.