Washington, May 1: The US will continue to maintain communication with India about its needs to address the COVID-19 crisis, the White House has said, as critical American aid supplies started arriving in the country.
Two American military aircraft on Friday brought to India large amounts of emergency medical supplies as part of the Biden administration's support to the country's fight against a devastating wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Biden Restricts Travel From India to US Due to COVID-19 Outbreak, Says White House.
The first consignment of the supplies was brought to Delhi in a C-5M Super Galaxy, one of the largest strategic airlift aircraft of the US Air Force, while the second shipment was delivered by a C-17 Globemaster.
“We will continue to communicate with India about their needs,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday. The first military assistance flight that departed from Travis Air Force Base had cargo including 200 small oxygen cylinders, 223 large oxygen cylinders, regulators and pulse oximeters, she said.
It also included approximately 184,000 rapid diagnostic tests and 84,000 N-95s masks. Psaki said that the Secretary of State Antony Blinken called his Indian counterpart External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to review ongoing US government efforts in support of the Indian government's response.
“He also noted the outpouring of support from US industries, our ongoing discussions, non-governmental institutions, and private citizens,” Psaki said. In all, the United States expects to deliver more than USD 100 million in medical supplies to India.
The Pentagon said in the coming week, more oxygen cylinders will be sent, as will oxygen concentrators, oxygen generation units, additional personnel protective equipment, rapid diagnostic tests and therapeutics.
“The US is also providing vaccine manufacturing supplies. In fact, the US has redirected its order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will enable the country to make more than 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said the Department of Defence.
Meanwhile, top American Senator Elizabeth Warren in a letter to President Joe Biden urged him to leverage all tools and resources available to the United States to provide relief to India.
“In light of this growing humanitarian crisis, I urge you to leverage all tools and resources available to the United States to provide relief to India,” Warren said in a letter to Biden.
“While I am pleased by your commitment to providing transportation and logistics assistance as well as doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to India, there is a critical need for more to be done,” the top Democrat said.
She also encouraged Biden to divert any excess supply of ventilators, PPE, oxygen, diagnostic equipment, as well as vaccines to India to help treat those in need and mitigate the spread of the virus.
“India is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that threatens its 1.4 billion citizens, and billions more around the world. I urge you to leverage all resources and explore all tools available to the United States to alleviate this crisis,” Warren said.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
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