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Republic of Ireland to send 700 oxygen concentrators to India to battle Covid crisis

India reported more than 350,000 confirmed cases in 24 hours today
James Ward, PA

The Republic of Ireland is to donate 700 oxygen concentrators to India as part of efforts to assist with the devastating Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

India reported more than 350,000 confirmed cases in 24 hours today, with hospitals in crisis, turning away patients due to a lack of oxygen and bed capacity.

It was the fifth day in a row that cases had hit a record peak, prompting pledges of aid from the US, the European Union and the UK.

The Republic of Ireland is to send 700 oxygen concentrators – a device that draws oxygen from the air and delivers it to patients – as part of its emergency material donation.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: “We have all seen the rapidly deteriorating situation in relation to Covid-19 in India.

“I am pleased that Ireland is in a position to make this emergency donation of 700 oxygen concentrators to India.

“These machines will support frontline healthcare workers in India to deliver care to patients who need it.

“I am grateful to all those who have been working together over the weekend to make this life-saving donation happen.”

The donation is being made through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, as part of the Republic's contribution to the joint EU response to the crisis in India.

It is taken from stocks originally purchased by the HSE for use in a field hospital setting, as part of pandemic preparations.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “Ireland is among the first states to confirm concrete support to India.

“At a time of great difficulty for India, we want to show solidarity with a country and people with whom we have strong historical and modern day relations.

“We are glad to provide this support at a time of such need and to be doing so as part of a wider EU response.”

The plan was developed in co-ordination with the Department of Health, Foreign Affairs and Housing and Local Government.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said: “This emergency donation is another example of the Irish people’s extraordinary generosity of spirit and clear desire to want to help our international friends.

“I am keenly aware that many people living in Ireland have friends and family in India and are distressed at the very sad scenes we are witnessing there and I hope Government’s rapid response offers them some comfort.”

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, whose father is Indian, indicated yesterday that Ireland would send help.

He tweeted: “There are many Indian people working in our health service. India is currently facing a terrible second wave causing suffering beyond our comprehension.

“We are assessing a plan to provide oxygen and ventillators to India working with the EU.”

A decision on whether India will be added to the Republic of Ireland’s “red list” of countries from which arriving passengers must undergo mandatory hotel quarantine is expected from public health chiefs this week.

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