France on Tuesday announced a support package for India’s Covid-19 response, including major equipment such as oxygen generators and liquid oxygen containers that will be shipped by air and sea by the end of this week.
The solidarity mission, initiated by President Emmanuel Macron, is supported by French companies present in India and the European Union, and aims to respond to both emergency needs and boost long-term resilience of India’s healthcare system, French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said.
France has become the second European country after Germany to announce a support package for India, which registered record-breaking Coronavirus infections for the fifth consecutive day on Monday, with 352,991 cases reported in 24 hours. Official data showed the death toll rose to an all-time high of 2,812.
The support packages of most countries, including France, are aimed at helping address a severe shortage of oxygen in numerous cities. Experts have blamed many deaths on the lack of oxygen and plants across the country have been hard pressed to meet the growing needs of health facilities.
France’s support package will include eight medical oxygen generators, each capable of uninterrupted supply for a 250-bed hospital. The generators can meet the needs of 15 critically ill Covid-19 patients in an ICU, or 30 patients in the ICU of a non-Covid hospital or 150 patients on oxygen therapy in a conventional hospital.
The units can make a hospital “autonomous in oxygen supply for approximately 10 years” and are durable installations that produce medical oxygen from ambient air yearlong, the French embassy said in a statement.
France will also ship five containers of liquid medical oxygen as a first instalment, each capable of supplying medical oxygen to up to 10,000 patients a day, and specialised medical equipment, including 28 ventilators and 200 electric syringe pumps.
The statement said the package is part of the support announced on Sunday by the European Union (EU) under its Civil Protection Mechanism, which helps coordinate the EU’s response to emergencies in Europe and beyond.
“France and India have always stood by each other’s side in difficult times. This solidarity is at the core of our strategic partnership and the friendship between the Indian and the French peoples,” the statement added.