By Pragya Kaushika
New Delhi [India], May 2 (ANI): France on Sunday delivered eight oxygen generator plants including 28 tonnes of medical equipment to aid India's fight against COVID-19, terming it as a gesture of solidarity. Another air freight is expected to fly in with additional medical aid, informed Ambassador of France to India Emmanuel Lenain.
The medical supplies reached India on Sunday morning under a 'solidarity mission' to boost the long-term resilience of India's healthcare system.
Along with the oxygen generator plants, France also supplied 28 ventilators and 200 electric syringe pushers which are planned to be distributed to several hospitals to boost their ICU capacities depending on their requirements.
The solidarity mission is being carried out by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs with contributions from the health ministry and 47 French companies to support Indian people battling against COVID-19.
Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, while speaking to ANI, termed the delivery of medical assistance a gesture of solidarity.
"I am very proud of this assistance. We have been working for seven days and nights with ministries and companies to provide assistance to India. We want to show solidarity and it's a two-way solidarity. India has helped us last year when France was in dire need of medical drugs and the people of France remembered that. We want to show solidarity now that India is facing some difficulty," said the French Ambassador.
Elaborating on the consignment of medical aid, Ambassador Lenain called it an exceptional package, the largest of all France has provided to any country in the COVID crisis.
"It is not only a response to short-term needs but equipment to provide self-dependence to Indian hospitals. Each of these units can provide oxygen for 12 years to a bed of 250 hospitals. It will contribute to building capacity in India. It comes in addition to the short-term response we are providing. We are working in airlift and logistical support to provide oxygen all over India. We have a French company called Air Liquide, Indian Navy and Air force and with that system, we will provide 600 tonnes of oxygen which is need 30,000 people per day which is a significant number," informed the Ambassador, who received the aid at Delhi's International airport, wearing full PPE.
In addition to the medical equipment today, France is also assisting and coordinating with Indian authorities and the Red cross so that the equipment is put to use immediately.
"Given the situation, planning has been done to ensure that this equipment will be plugged as soon as they reached hospitals and start saving lives," said the French Ambassador.
He assured that there will be another air freight coming in with additional medical aid.
"All the French companies and many people are moved by what is going on in India and they want to show solidarity. We have raised extra funds and are going to charter another plane before the end of the month to bring equipment to make hospitals self-sufficient," the Ambassador added.
He also stressed the need to help each other in such unprecedented times.
"If the pandemic is going on in one country, no one will be safe until everyone is safe. It is a matter of urgency to join forces and help each other. India has exported vaccination to the world, it's time to give back to India," stated Lenain.
The oxygen plants are going to be distributed to eight Indian hospitals, of which six are in Delhi, one each in Haryana and Telangana.
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. (ANI)
France terms aid to India as 'gesture of solidarity'; more medical assistance coming, assures French envoy
ANI | Updated: May 02, 2021 09:41 IST
By Pragya Kaushika