The UK will send medical equipment to India as the latter continues to suffer from a surge in coronavirus cases, the British government announced Sunday.
India set a new global record for daily coronavirus cases for the fourth day in a row on Sunday.
There were 349,691 new cases, taking the total to 16.96 million. Only the US has had more overall cases.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been due to visit India this week but cancelled his trip due to the surge in coronavirus cases there.
In a statement, he said: “We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against COVID-19.”
“Vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus.
“We will continue to work closely with the Indian government during this difficult time, and I’m determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against pandemic,” he added.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “Today we have sent the first of several urgent deliveries of surplus medical equipment to our friends in India to help provide life-saving care for vulnerable Covid patients. No-one is safe until we are all safe.”
India is also suffering from acute shortages of oxygen. The first shipment of medical supplies from the UK will arrive in India on Tuesday morning.
The nine airplane container loads include 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators. Further shipments of British medical supplies to India will also be sent.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “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.
“This first delivery of life saving equipment will provide much needed assistance and we stand ready to do more.”
Meanwhile, the UK reported its lowest number of daily coronavirus cases since early September as Britain’s successful vaccination program continues to prevent a surge of infections despite loosening lockdown measures.
Government data released Sunday showed that across the UK over the past 24 hours, there were 1,712 more positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 4,404,882. There were also a further 11 deaths, bringing the total to 127,428.
Up to and including April 24, 2021, 33,666,638 first doses of vaccines have been administered and 12,587,116 second doses.