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Northern Ireland to supply oxygen units to India in Covid-19 battle

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Relatives of a patient who died of COVID-19, mourn outside a government COVID-19 hospital in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The COVID-19 death toll in India has topped 200,000 as the country endures its darkest chapter of the pandemic yet. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Relatives of a patient who died of COVID-19, mourn outside a government COVID-19 hospital in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The COVID-19 death toll in India has topped 200,000 as the country endures its darkest chapter of the pandemic yet. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

AP

Relatives of a patient who died of COVID-19, mourn outside a government COVID-19 hospital in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The COVID-19 death toll in India has topped 200,000 as the country endures its darkest chapter of the pandemic yet. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Northern Ireland is to supply three oxygen generation units to India to help support the country’s battle against the pandemic.

The delivery of the oxygen machines will be as part of the UK’s overall response to India’s Covid-19 crisis.

The official number of people who have died in India as a result of the coronavirus has now surpassed 200,000, with 3,293 deaths in the last 24-hour period.

Reports from the country suggest the figure of positive cases and deaths is much higher than official recordings.

The three oxygen generation units being sent to India from Northern Ireland were procured by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust last year.

The units being sent have not been required for use in hospitals in Northern Ireland during the pandemic.

India has been required to call in its armed forces to help support the country’s under-pressure health service, with the second-wave in India leading to shortages of medical supplies, including oxygen.

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According to the government, the UK as a whole has announced over 600 pieces of life-saving medical equipment is being sent to India.

A statement from the government said this includes “ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks”.

The first shipment of the supplies to India left the UK on Sunday, with more shipments due throughout the course of the week.

Advising he has been in discussions with Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock, the Health Minister Robin Swann described the scenes in India as a “humanitarian crisis” ad said providing support is “the right thing to do”.

“Oxygen supply is under severe stress in India’s health system. The oxygen generation units are each capable of providing 500 litres of oxygen per minute and I sincerely hope these units can help save lives,” he added.

“The scenes in India are a vivid reminder of the destructiveness of the virus. We must never lose sight of the damage it is capable of inflicting.”


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