|UNICEF is also providing cold chain equipment for Covid-19 vaccines (PTI photo)|
Several United Nations agencies have delivered nearly 10,000 oxygen concentrators and about 10 million medical masks to India to support national and local governments to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the spokesman for the UN chief.
In India, the UN team on the ground “continues to support the authorities – both nationally and locally – to tackle the pandemic,” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said at the daily press briefing on Thursday.
He said UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) have delivered nearly 10,000 oxygen concentrators, nearly 10 million medical masks and more than 1.5 million face shields. The UN team has also purchased ventilators and oxygen-generating plants.
UNICEF is also providing cold chain equipment for COVID-19 vaccines.
“Our team has also delivered testing machines and kits, as well as airport thermal scanners,” he said adding that WHO is also providing tents and beds for temporary health facilities and the agency has deployed thousands of public health specialists to help address the pandemic.
UNICEF and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) are also helping to monitor more than 175,000 vaccination centres across India.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore had earlier cautioned that the “tragic” COVID-19 situation in India should “raise alarm bells for all of us. Unless the world steps up and helps India now, there will be reverberations across the region and the world in terms of virus-related deaths, virus mutations and supply delays.”
India is in the midst of a raging second wave of COVID-19 and is recording over 400,000 daily coronavirus infections and over 3,000 deaths. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India has a total of over 20.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 226,000 deaths.
Countries across the South Asia region are witnessing rises in infections, with India accounting for over 90 per cent of both cases and deaths in the region, according to the World Health Organization.
India also accounted for 46 per cent of global cases and 25 per cent of global deaths reported in the past week, WHO has said.
UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia George Laryea-Adjei had said in a statement that urgent action and steadfast leadership are indispensable to stop the catastrophe.