In a written response to MP Binoy Viswam In Rajya Sabha, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs) VA Muraleedharan said that during the unprecedented crisis, the international community made offers of solidarity and assistance for specific medicines and equipment that were not immediately available in the country.
He said that to date foreign materials have been received from 52 countries, including government to government, private to government, private to private, associations and companies from the Indian community.
“Donations were authorized through the Interministerial Committee which includes representatives of Ministry of Health, MEA, Niti Aayog, DPIIT, MHA, MoHFW, etc. “said the Minister.
Giving details of the assistance received, the minister said that India received 27,116 oxygen cylinders, 29,327 oxygen concentrators, 48 oxygen PSA plants and 19,375 ventilators from 52 foreign countries during the second wave of Covid-19.
The government also received 33,30,187 favipiravir, 11,06,940 Remdesiver, 5,10,245 tocilizumab from foreign countries. A total of 19,88,985 rapid diagnostic kits were received during the Covid wave.
In February, when India brought Covid-19 under control from the peak of the first wave last year, a second wave of the virus hit the country with the existing healthcare infrastructure unable to cope with the surge in cases.
On the ground, it was a heartbreaking tragedy. Across the country, hospitals ran out of basic medical supplies and many patients died due to oxygen shortages. Family members were driving from one clinic to another, desperately searching for ICU beds. Other than that, people were looking for clues across the country for normal beds with oxygen facilities.
The government then sought the help of the international community for the oxygen supply. The transport planes of the Indian Air Force were put into service, the warships of the Indian Navy were sent to friendly countries to meet the medical needs of the time.
Finally, the government began to make every effort to control the situation. And in June, the situation began to improve with the decrease in the number of cases.