Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
51. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will support the dire need of PPE including oxygen from Europe with immediate effect to the health service in India; and if emergency oxygen will be sent to India as soon as possible. [22469/21]
India is undergoing a vast surge in Covid-19 cases, with about three million recorded new cases in the past two weeks alone. The Indian health system is under severe pressure, with hospitals having to turn patients away as they run out of both beds and oxygen.
Ireland was among the first States to confirm concrete support to India as part of a wider EU response. At a time of great difficulty for India, we wanted to show solidarity with a country and people with whom we have strong historical and modern day relations. The emergency donation of 700 oxygen concentrators to India is en route, coordinated by the EU Civil Protection mechanism. Ireland made a further offer of 365 ventilators and 1 oxygen generator, which was accepted by the Indian authorities and transport arrangements are in hand.
We are glad to provide this support at a time of such need and to be doing so as part of a wider EU response. EU leaders, including the Taoiseach, will have a virtual Summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi on 8 May and the issue of the pandemic will be a central theme of the discussions. We hope that Ireland’s contribution of life-saving equipment, in tandem with the coordinated EU response, will provide rapid and tangible support and solidarity with India at this distressing time. My thoughts especially are with the Indian community in Ireland which is deeply concerned for families and friends in India. We are deeply grateful to the medical professionals from India who are making a major contribution to our own health services during the pandemic.