Britain is due to send more than 600 medical equipment to India following a huge increase in coronavirus cases in the country, the government has confirmed.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Department said the assistance program would include ventilators and oxygen concentrators from excess stocks.
He said the first of nine planes loaded with the kit would arrive in New Delhi early on Tuesday.
In a statement, Boris Johnson said: “We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a time of deep concern in the fight against Covid-19.
“Vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life caused by this terrible virus.
“We will continue to work closely with the Government of India during this difficult time and I am determined to ensure that the UK does everything in its power to support the international community in the global fight against (this) pandemic.”
The discovery of a new ‘double mutant’ Covid-19 variant in the country has been blamed as one of the main factors in the increase in cases, with the strain causing an alarm because it has two spike proteins at the instead of one.
The variant is believed to be more transmissible than other strains and there are concerns that it may make vaccines less effective, although this has not yet been confirmed.
The rise in the number of cases has also been linked to the too rapid relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
Several people have now died as a result of oxygen shortages in Indian hospitals, with some families taking to social media to ask for oxygen supplies.
Additional reports by PA.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-25 14:18:50