Australia to send oxygen, ventilators and PPE to India
Australia will send oxygen, ventilators, and personal protective equipment to India as part of an immediate support package to the country which is battling with the latest surge of the COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday. "The federal government was in the process of considering what it could send to help," the ABC news channel quoted Hunt as saying.
India is literally gasping for oxygen: Hunt
"India is literally gasping for oxygen," the federal health minister said. "And while we can assist with the national medical stockpile, their particular request is for assistance with regards to the physical supply of oxygen. That will be one of the things we are looking at, in particular with the states," the minister further said.
Australia will not send vaccines
The federal government also confirmed that it will send oxygen, ventilators, and personal protective equipment to India as part of an immediate support package to be announced on Tuesday, according to the report. However, Australia would not send vaccines.
'Will keep a reserve and donate in case of assistance'
Hunt further said, ''We are in a strong position on that front because we don't need them at this point in time. We will still keep a reserve, but if they can be of assistance (they will be donated)." The National Security Committee of Cabinet is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss any assistance for India.
Government also considering banning all flights from India
The Cabinet meeting will also discuss any extra steps that may need to be taken to minimize the risk of infections spreading to Australia. The government was also considering banning all flights from India following the massive spike of coronavirus cases in the country. The Cabinet meeting will discuss temporarily halting all repatriation flights out of India.
The move could affect thousands of people
The move could affect thousands of people, including Australian cricketers currently playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in India. Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, Australia's ambassador to India Barry O'Farrell and officials from the Health Department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of Home Affairs were holding discussions over recent days on how to deal with the emerging situation.
3,00,000 daily new cases being reported in India
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 in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
India has reported 1,73,13,163 cases, 1,95,123 deaths
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Monday morning, India reported a total of 1,73,13,163 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 1,95,123. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,43,04,382 patients have recovered, while there are 28,13,658 active cases currently. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 3,52,991 new infections and 2,812 fresh fatalities. 14,19,11,223 vaccine doses have been administered so far.