Coronavirus: UK sends 'oxygen factories' to India

New Delhi, India: Following the first consignment of Covid help this week, Britain declared Wednesday that it was sending three oxygen generation units to Covid-stricken India, but that it had no spare vaccines to sell.

According to the UK government, the three units, called oxygen factories, are each the size of a shipping container and can generate 500 liters of oxygen per minute.

"We stand with our Indian friends in their fight against Covid-19," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

"International collaboration is more essential than ever, and this additional UK support package will help meet India's current needs, particularly for more oxygen."

The latest shipment comes after the first batch of oxygen concentrators and ventilators from the United Kingdom arrived in India on Tuesday, with more supplies arriving on Friday.

This week, the United Kingdom is sending 495 oxygen concentrators and 200 ventilators to India. The Foreign Office did not react immediately to an AFP inquiry about when the container-sized factories would arrive.

The death toll from coronavirus in India surpassed 200,000 on Wednesday, as a steady stream of new cases flooded hospitals and drove desperate families onto the streets of New Delhi in search of oxygen and medication.

The United States says it will send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to other countries, with India set to be among them.

Critics have accused Washington of "hoarding" the British-developed vaccine, which is not approved in the US and would almost certainly not be used to vaccinate Americans.

Britain, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, does not have any surplus vaccines to sell India "at the moment."

However, he mentioned that the AstraZeneca jab was supported by the Oxford University study, and that "that is the biggest contribution that we can make that effectively comes from British science," along with the oxygen supplies.


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