MATT Hancock has tonight warned that India’s Covid crisis is a “stark reminder this isn’t over yet.”
In an address to the UK, the Health Secretary called photos from the stricken subcontinent “harrowing” – and said Brits must stay vigilant.
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Matt Hancock tonight warned India’s Covid crisis is a stark reminder that Brits can’t yet relaxCredit: Reuters
Matt Hancock warned we must remain vigilant after a huge surge in infections in India as restrictions easedCredit: AFP
It comes as Britain sends more life-saving equipment to India, including three mini oxygen factories.
“It pains each one of us seeing these scenes,” Mr Hancock said this evening.
“Everyone across the whole of the UK stands side-by-side with the people of India in these troubled times, because in this battle against coronavirus, we’re all on the same side.
“This fight is a global fight, and when other nations face their hour of need, as we faced ours, we will be there.
“The situation in India is a stark reminder this isn’t over yet.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a package of support for India today after the country passed 200,000 Covid deaths.
It will include three container-sized Oxygen factories to help produce life-saving supplies for overwhelmed hospitals.
Each plant can produce 500 litres of oxygen per minute, which is enough for 50 people to use at any one time.
They will be sent from surplus stocks in Northern Ireland.
In India, the bodies of Covid victims are being burned in hastily-constructed ‘cremantoriums’Credit: AFP
The fiancee of one casualty breaks down in GauhatiCredit: AP
Britain has sent medical supplies to India to support embattled medicsCredit: AFP
Mr Raab said: “We stand with our Indian friends in their fight against Covid-19.
“International collaboration is more essential than ever, and this additional UK support package will help meet India’s current needs, particularly for more oxygen.”
India is on Britain’s ‘red list’ – essentially meaning travel is banned.
It was added to the list at 4am last Friday.
The country has suffered a devastating resurgence of the virus, and has less than 10 per cent of its population vaccinated so far.
Capital Delhi is among the worst hit places, with soaring cases and dwindling oxygen supplies.
In some hospitals, oxygen has run out altogether, with medics forced to abandon patients to die on roads outside.
The country of 1.5billion people made it through the first wave of the pandemic when it went into a strict lockdown between March 25 and May 31, 2020.
However, after the country was declared open with restrictions lifted in March, the situation has drastically worsened.
One of India’s leading virologists, Dr Shahid Jameel, said: “We let our guard down. It was complacency.”
Cricket matches, and massive religious festivals, all largely maskless, were held.
Dr Jameel, of Ashoka University, said: “These were all possible super-spreader events.”
In the UK, cases are continuing to drop thanks to the jabs roll-outCredit: gov uk
The number of people testing positive every day has plunged from a peak in JanuaryCredit: gov uk