Australia’s first batch of promised medical supplies has been sent to India to help the Asian country’s desperate fight against rising Covid-19 infections.
A chartered Qantas flight departed Sydney yesterday (Wednesday) carrying supplies to meet the needs identified by the Government of India.
The consignment – which is to be followed soon by others – includes 1,056 ventilators and 43 oxygen concentrators to help Indian frontline workers provide lifesaving medical interventions.
These Australian-donated supplies will be distributed by the Indian Red Cross and local authorities in an effort to ensure support reaches those in greatest need.
Urgent deployment of further supplies planned
The Federal Government has said it is working closely with state and territory governments, as well as Australia’s private sector, on the urgent deployment of further emergency supplies to India.
Among the medical supplies which were promised to India in late April by Australia are one million surgical masks, 500,000 P2/N95 masks, 100,000 surgical gowns, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, said that as close friends and strategic partners, Australia and India would stand together during India’s pandemic emergency that has seen the country record almost 21-million cases and 226,000 deaths.
“India has shown great leadership and generosity to the world in exporting vaccines globally. It is time for the world to repay that generosity, and Australia as a close friend of the Indian people is playing its part,” Payne said.
Australia expresses its solidarity and support
“We express our solidarity and deepest support with India as it responds to this ongoing crisis and recognise how difficult this time is for Indians, Australians in India, and their loved ones.”
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said Australia had offered a significant package of support to the Indian Government.
“At the same time, we are working on plans to resume travel from India to support Australians to get home,” he said.
The Government’s decision to ban Indian-based Australians from returning home – and to penalise them if they do so – has been heavily criticised in some quarters as illegal and a contravention of human rights.