April 30, 2021 1:09:51 pm
The United States hopes its massive COVID-19 assistance to India has a catalytic effect on society and around the world to come to the country’s aid as it fights a severe outbreak of COVID-19, officials said here.
The US is delivering essential medical supplies worth more than USD100 million to India in the coming days, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Thursday.
The first flight carrying relief materials left a US Air Force base in California on Wednesday.
“Our assistance, we hope, will have a catalytic effect on society more broadly here and around the world to come to the aid of the Indian people,” Price said at his daily news conference.
US state governments, private companies, non-governmental organisations, and thousands of Americans from across the country have mobilised to deliver vital oxygen-related equipment and essential supplies for Indian hospitals to support frontline healthcare workers and the people most affected during this current outbreak, he said.
“US government flights will start arriving in India tonight, and they will continue into next week. Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India and its time of need,” Price added.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One that the first assistance flights left the US for India on April 28.
The planes carried the first tranche of the assistance, which includes oxygen cylinders, rapid diagnostic tests, and N95 masks to protect frontline workers, she said.
Additional flights carrying the remaining assistance, including oxygen generators and concentrators, are scheduled to depart in the upcoming days, Jean-Pierre said.
Responding to a question, Price said the rise in COVID-19 cases in India is a matter of concern.
Since the start of this outbreak prior to the latest assistance, the United States had delivered some USD19 million in support to India’s public health system, he said.
“If we are to make progress against this current surge of cases in India, it can’t be something that the Indian government tackles alone, it can’t be something that the United States government tackles alone,” the State Department spokesperson asserted.
“Everyone has a role to play, including the private sector, including the advocacy community, including civil society, and that’s what you are seeking to do,” Price said in response to another question.
He added that the goal of both the Indian and the US governments is to ensure that this aid is put to immediate and effective use.
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