US to send medical aid to India, deploy healthcare workers amid surging cases

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The United States is deeply concerned by a massive surge in coronavirus cases in India and plans to quickly deploy additional support to the Indian government and health care workers, a White House spokeswoman said on Saturday.

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“We are in active conversations at high levels and plan to quickly deploy additional support to the Government of India and Indian health care workers as they battle this latest severe outbreak. We will have more to share very soon,” the spokeswoman told Reuters via email.

India is grappling with a record-setting surge in coronavirus infections, with hospitals running out of critical oxygen supplies. The Indian government has deployed military planes and trains to get oxygen to Delhi from other parts of the country and foreign countries, including Singapore.

The number of cases across the country of around 1.3 billion rose overnight by 346,786, India’s Health Ministry said on Saturday, for a total of 16.6 million cases, including 189,544 deaths.

But experts say the number of cases is likely many times higher and could rise further.

Officials from both countries are engaged at various levels to ensure “a small supply of inputs and components from US companies for production of COVID-19 vaccines in India,” a spokesman at the Indian Embassy in Washington told Reuters.

“We believe it is important to work together to identify both bottlenecks in medical supply chains and potential solutions for overcoming these (bottlenecks), and to combat the global pandemic together and expedite ongoing vaccination efforts,” the spokesman said.

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