How does the United States see India

Corona wave rolls over India - German aid should come soon

By Reuters Staff

Bangalore (Reuters) - In the fight against the increasingly stronger second corona wave in India, the federal government is pressing ahead with its aid plans.

Germany provides medical goods worth 50 million euros, said Health Minister Jens Spahn on Thursday in Berlin. India is currently experiencing a “worst case scenario”. The Bundeswehr wants to fly 120 ventilators to the emerging South Asian country on Saturday to support it in view of the tense situation in the hospitals. In addition, an oxygen production plant is to be delivered in the next week, according to the Federal Ministry of Defense. Up to 16 paramedics are to provide support on site for up to two weeks in setting up and instructing the system. The relief supplies are to be handed over to the Indian Red Cross. With 379,257 new infections, the Indian authorities again reported a global high and with 3645 additional deaths, more than ever before in one day.

More than 18 million infections have now been confirmed among India's more than 1.3 billion inhabitants, and more than 200,000 people have died in connection with the virus. Only the United States and Brazil have more deaths and only the United States has more contagions. However, experts assume a high number of unreported cases in India for both numbers. Also because many hospitals turn away patients for lack of beds, equipment and medication. In particular, there is a shortage of oxygen to treat more severe Covid-19 cases. In view of this overload of the health system, further aid from abroad arrived in the capital New Delhi. Two planes brought 20 oxygen concentrators, 75 ventilators and other medical equipment from Russia.

US aid deliveries have also been dispatched. They have a volume of more than 100 million dollars, such as the government in Washington announced. This included 1,000 oxygen bottles, 15 million protective masks and a million rapid diagnostic tests. The US also redirected its own orders for supplies to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine to India so that more than 20 million doses of the vaccine could be produced there. "Just as India sent aid to the United States when our hospitals were congested at the start of the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need," the President's Office said. The State Department issued a travel warning for India and asked US citizens to leave the country.

One reason for the skyrocketing number of infections after the number of cases declined in January and February is possibly a particularly contagious virus mutant that was discovered in India. But the approval of religious and political mass events is also suspected behind this, despite the renewed increase in contagion. The government is now relying on accelerating the vaccination campaign. Since Wednesday, all residents aged 18 and over have been able to register for vaccinations. However, India does not yet have the vaccine capacity to handle the 800 million or so people who are eligible. Only around nine percent of the population has been vaccinated since the campaign started in January. The first deliveries of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V are expected to arrive on Saturday.

Every day, thousands of Indians are desperately looking for free hospital beds and life-saving oxygen for sick relatives via social media apps and personal contacts. Hospital beds that become vacant, especially in intensive care units, are allocated in a matter of minutes. "The violence of the second wave surprised everyone," said a government scientific advisor to the Indian Express newspaper. "We knew about second waves in other countries, but we had vaccines on hand and there was no evidence from modeling to suggest the extent of the wave."