As 42 countries pitch in, India to receive 100,000 oxygen cylinders, and more

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: May 09, 2021, 10:22 AM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( WION )

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While a lot of support has come in from across the globe, many leaders have recalled how India had reached out to the world community when they needed medicines and other essentials.

Even as India battles the second wave of the covid pandemic, it has received a pledge of support from 42 countries, of which assistance from 21 countries has already arrived.

India is keen on in two areas: oxygen and essential medicines. In oxygen, it is liquid oxygen and equipment that can generate oxygen, and in essential medicines, it is Remdesivir. 

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Currently, in the country, the production of medical oxygen supply has increased from 5,700 MT to 9,480 MT but it needs to be supplemented. From international assistance, India has got 20,000 oxygen cylinders, 11,000 oxygen concentrators, 30 oxygen tankers and 75 oxygen generator plants. Out of the 30 oxygen tankers, nine have reached the country.

MEA can assist to get global players to set up 50,000MT plants. A total of 1,172 oxygen tankers are being put in place, 102,400 oxygen cylinders are being procured, 100,000 oxygen concentrators are being procured. Many tankers have also come as part of deals between private companies.

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When it comes to Remdesivir, the aim is to produce 10 million in the country or around 300,000 per day. American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences on Saturday sent 150,000 vials of Remdesivir and another 150,000 vials will be coming.

India will also receive 400,000 doses from Eygpt-based, Eva Pharma. India has also got quotations from Bangladesh, Germany, Uzbekistan, and UAE. All in all, India will get 1.6 million vials of Remdesivir from these sources.

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The focus is also on tocilizumab, with Switzerland-based Roche increasing its supply by 60 times. India is getting 11,000 vials, and 21,000 more vials are expected of tocilizumab — usually given in the initial stages of covid. India is getting favipiravir from Russia and RoActemra from other sources. 

India's missions and posts are coordinating efforts of procuring as well as making sure that the assistance by foreign countries reaches the country as it battles the covid pandemic.

As the second wave hit the country, the ministry of external affairs' COVID cell was reactivated. The covid cell formed last year, has around 15-20 IFS officers — mostly young officers — and is headed by Dammu Ravi who is the Additional Secretary coordinating all issues under it. Naveen Srivastava and Vinay Kumar are the other two MEA officials, who are part of the entire coordination effort against covid. While Naveen represents MEA at the empowered panels on coordinating against covid, Vinay deals with the vaccine efforts like Vaccine Maitri and others.

While a lot of support has come in from across the globe, many leaders have recalled how India had reached out to the world community when they needed medicines and other essentials.

"When we were in a bind at the very beginning, India helped us," US President Joe Biden recently said. In 2020, India had sent HCQ to the US when it was battling the covid pandemic.

In addition to the US, UK's Charles, Prince of Wales, the heir apparent to the British throne, in a message for India said, "As India has helped others, so now must we help India". 

However, even as international assistance helps to bridge the short-term capacity constraints, New Delhi aims to ramp up capacity.

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