India receives essential medical supplies from France to combat COVID-19 surge
Photo Credit: Twitter/@MEAIndia

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, India on Sunday received several essential medical supplies and equipment from France to help fight the second wave of the coronavirus.

According to sources, the medical supply from France was received today includes eight oxygen generators, 28 ventilators, 200 electric syringe pumps, 28 AFNOR/BS Flexible tubes, 500 anti-bacterial filters, 500 machine filters and 500 related patient circuits. The total weight of these materials is more than 28 tonnes.

These eight generators are Novair Premium RX 400 Hospital Level Oxygen Generators, with each unit capable of providing yearlong oxygen for 250 beds. These world-class generators would make 8 hospitals oxygen autonomous for over 10 years, informed sources.

"A testament to India-France strategic partnership & friendship! 28 tonnes of medical equipment including 8 hospital-level oxygen generators and other medical supplies arrives from France. Deeply appreciate the support from France. Will bolster our oxygen capacities," tweeted Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

According to a press release, this airfreight is the first phase of France's solidarity mission. Furthermore, a second delivery of oxygen generators and medical equipment is underway due to the numerous contributions made by French companies in India with the active involvement of the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI).

Moreover, in the following days, French company Air Liquide will begin shipments of several hundred tons of oxygen through a dedicated logistical bridge organized by both governments and implemented with the Indian armed forces.

According to the release, the oxygen plants will be delivered to eight Indian hospitals, including six in Delhi, one in Haryana and one in Telangana, based on needs as identified by the Indian authorities.

The 28 ventilators and 200 electric syringe pumps will be distributed to several hospitals based on needs to enhance their ICU capacities.

This special cargo flight has been chartered free of charge by the French shipping and logistics group CMA CGM through its air cargo division. Alongside CMA CGM, many other French companies present in India have stepped up to pool their contributions and resources with the French government to carry out this exceptional solidarity mission. This support also falls within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM).

"We stand by India in these difficult times, just as India has always stood by France. In Spring 2020, when French hospitals were facing acute shortages, India provided lifesaving help through the export of critical medical drugs. The French people have not forgotten. India has, in fact, been at the forefront of international cooperation against the pandemic, including through sharing its massive vaccine production capacity with the countries most in need," said the Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, on this occasion.

Quoting French President Emmanuel Macron, Lenain said that solidarity is at the heart of the strategic partnership between France and India and that a partnership between sovereign countries that have built an exceptional mutual trust and work together to enhance each other's strategic autonomy.

"We know now that healthcare is also a pillar of sovereignty. And that is the meaning of our contribution: each of these oxygen generator plants will make an Indian hospital fully oxygen aatmanirbhar for more than ten years. I believe healthcare can be a new field to develop our strategic partnership, building on our respective strengths. Together, we will prevail," he added, On 27 April, Macron had conveyed the message of solidarity in Hindi via a social media post. "No one is untouched by the epidemic we are going through. We know that India is going through a difficult period. France and India have always been united: we are ready to provide our support," he had said.

Meanwhile, the MEA also announced that India has received a shipment of 9,000 vials of Remdesivir from Belgium.

Earlier on Saturday night, India received several medical supplies from countries including Germany, the United States and Uzbekistan.

As India battles a devastating second wave of coronavirus, several countries around the globe including the United Kingdom and Russia have extended support as the country continues to struggle with the increase in its health infrastructure needs caused by the rising infections.

India for the first time reported more than four lakh new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. A total of 4,01,993 fresh COVID-19 cases were recorded yesterday, taking the cumulative count of the cases to 1,91,64,969, the Union Health Ministry reported.

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