UN stands ready to step up support to India amid Covid crisis: UN chief.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the world organization is ready to step up its support for India to combat the “horrible” wave of COVID-19 in the country that has infected more than 18 million people and has killed more than 200,000.
“With the entire @UN family, I stand in solidarity with the people of India who are facing a horrible outbreak of # COVID19. The UN stands ready to step up our support, ”Guterres tweeted on Thursday.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador TS Tirumurti responded to Guterres’ tweet saying that India deeply appreciates “your sentiments and solidarity at this juncture. We are also grateful for the support provided by @UNinIndia, ”marking the Twitter username of the United Nations in India.
According to data from the World Health Organization, confirmed COVID-19 cases in India exceed 18.37 million, and more than 204,000 people have died from the virus.
Earlier this week, UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir tweeted that he is concerned about the COVID-19 situation in India, a country that did so much to ensure # Vaccines4All in vulnerable countries. It is time for the world to extend aid and support to India. No one is safe until we are all safe.
He added that his thoughts are with the people of India at this time.
The United Nations team in India is supporting the response of the country’s authorities to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing critical supplies and the UN agencies are procuring thousands of oxygen concentrators, oxygen generating plants, and other essential equipment, as well as helping to establish mobile hospital units.
Deputy Secretary-General Spokesperson Farhan Haq had told reporters at Wednesday’s daily press conference that the UN team in India, led by Resident Coordinator Renata Lok Dessallien, is supporting the authorities’ response to the pandemic by providing equipment and supplies. even local governments.
WHO and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) are procuring equipment and supplies, including 7,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 nasal oxygen delivery devices, as well as oxygen generating plants, COVID-19 testing machines, and kits. personal protection.
WHO is also helping to establish mobile hospital units and is providing laboratories.
Some 2,600 WHO field officers have been immediately deployed to help health authorities curb the spread of the pandemic.
In Maharashtra, UNICEF has recruited experts to work on risk governance. The UN team also continues its campaign by highlighting the “three questions: Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance and stay six feet away.”
“In India’s time of need, the UN is doing everything it can to quickly provide critical equipment and supplies to the central and state governments,” Dessallien said.
The WHO said in a press release that filling critical gaps in essential medical supplies and hospital capabilities should be a top priority as India faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The WHO is chartering flights to bring in 4,000 oxygen concentrators to help meet the growing demands.
“The current rapid increase in COVID-19 cases has put immense pressure on health systems, already overburdened since the start of the pandemic. We have to act quickly, expand the capacity of hospitals and equip them with the medical supplies most necessary to save lives, ”said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of the WHO South-East Asia Region.
A UN News article said that the Southeast Asia region has led the world in COVID-19 infections for the third week in a row, mainly due to the situation in India, which has registered 2.17 million new cases, or a 52 percent increase.
To make additional hospital beds and critical equipment available to India, WHO is procuring mobile field hospitals with a capacity of 20-30 beds, which could be installed in the worst affected areas. Bed capacity in these field hospitals can be increased to a maximum of 50, if necessary, without affecting infection prevention and control protocols, and water and sanitation, the WHO statement added.
The agency is also helping laboratories meet the huge demand for tests, and more than 2,600 WHO technicians, working on various programs such as polio, tuberculosis, and NTDs, have been repurposed to support the response to a pandemic. in India.
WHO is procuring laboratory supplies, including 1.2 million reagents, to meet the huge demand and need for testing.