Northern Ireland news

Swann attends community event to praise north for sending life-saving oxygen equipment to Covid-hit India

Sanjay Ghosh, founder of ImageNation and health minister Robin Swann at the Sandy Row Community Centre in south Belfast on Tuesday. Picture by Mal McCann
Paul Ainsworth

Health minister Robin Swann has been welcomed at a community event in Belfast to thank the north for sending vital oxygen equipment to India as part of a Covid relief effort.

Mr Swann was joined at the event at Sandy Row Community Centre on Tuesday by East Derry MLA Claire Sugden and Belfast Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl.

The gathering was organised by local Indian community organisation ImageNationNI in response to the Department of Health sending three shipping container-sized oxygen generators to India at the height of the Covid wave in the county in May. To date there have been over 31 million cases recorded in the subcontinent and more than 414,000 deaths.

The generators - sent to India alongside 1,000 ventilators provided by the UK - are able to produce 500 litres of oxygen per minute, which is enough to treat 50 people at a time.

A message of thanks was also conveyed to Mr Swann on behalf of Belfast businessman and Conservative peer Lord Diljit Rana, who has been based in India's Punjab region throughout the recent Covid wave.

Lord Rana also thanked Ms Sugden for her work in assisting members of the Indian community returning to the north and facing stop-overs and regulation issues in Britain.

In a statement saying he was "deeply grateful" to the Stormont pair, Lord Rana added: "They have well understood the stress and grief which our friends and relations have suffered through the pandemic and I hope they will accept our gratitude for their work."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news