The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

Malta donates much-needed oxygen equipment to India, government announces

Monday, 3 May 2021, 17:15 Last update: about 8 days ago

Malta is donating a number of oxygen concentrators to India, the government has announced.

India is currently dealing with a catastrophic surge of Covid-19 cases and its hospitals are struggling to cope amid a shortage of medical personnel and equipment.

The country reported 368,147 new coronavirus cases and 3,417 deaths on Monday and many deaths are believed to have been caused by a lack of oxygen.

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On the initiative of the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs in collaboration with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministry for Health, this donation will offer strong relief to the Holy Family Hospital in the Indian capital city, New Delhi—which is among the worst hit by the pandemic—as agreed with the director of this hospital, the government said.

The medical equipment, which takes in ambient air and increases its oxygen concentration by filtering away the nitrogen, is intended for patients who are heavily dependent on oxygen therapy, which is currently so scarce and necessary in India.

“This is another link in a series of initiatives that the Government continuously supports in the international humanitarian field through its official development assistance fund,” the government said.

“Such initiatives are only possible thanks to the Government’s promptness in procuring the necessary medical equipment to safeguard the well-being of Maltese and Gozitan people at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore, today, it is in a position to help other countries overcome this global challenge.”

On Monday, the leaders of 13 Indian opposition parties urged the government to launch a free vaccination drive and ensure an uninterrupted flow of oxygen to all hospitals.

Several hospital authorities sought court intervention over the weekend to provide oxygen supplies in New Delhi, where a lockdown has been extended by a week in an attempt to contain the wave of infections.

The New Delhi High Court said it would start punishing government officials if supplies of oxygen allocated to hospitals are not delivered.

The health ministry says it has confirmed 19.9 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, behind only the U.S., which has counted more than 32.4 million. It says more than 218,000 people have died.

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