European Union member countries rushing medical supplies to India

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Several member nations of the European Union are rushing in medical supplies like oxygen concentrators and ventilators to India in line with an announcement made by the bloc to support the country in its fight against a devastating second wave of coronavirus infection.

EU member countries France, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sweden are sending medical supplies to India through the bloc’s Civil Protection Mechanism.

“This support has been made in line with the coordinated effort by EU member states currently underway to pool their resources in responding rapidly to tackle the alarming epidemiological situation in India,” the EU said in a statement.

It said that more EU support from other member states, including Germany, is expected in the coming days.

Under the Civil Protection Mechanism, Ireland is sending 700 oxygen concentrators, one oxygen generator and 365 ventilators to India while Belgium is supplying 9,000 doses of antiviral medicine Remdesivir and Sweden is providing 120 ventilators, according to the EU.

Similarly, Romania is supplying 80 oxygen concentrators and 75 oxygen cylinders while Luxembourg is sending 58 ventilators to India.

On its part, Portugal is in the process of shipping 5,503 vials of Remdesivir and 20,000 litres of oxygen per week.

France has already announced that it is sending to India oxygen generators, liquid oxygen containers, ventilators and other medical supplies by air and sea to support the country.

As part of its Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU plays a central role in coordinating its responses to emergencies in Europe and beyond.

Janez Lenarcic, Commissioner for Crisis Management of the EU, said the grouping stands in full solidarity with the Indian people and is ready to do its utmost to support them at this “critical time”.

“I would like to thank our member states that came in numerously with generous offers of help, showing that the EU is a trusted partner and a friend at times of need,” he said.

“The reach of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism goes well beyond the EU’s borders. Our Emergency Response Coordination Centre is facilitating the logistical arrangements and the EU will cover the brunt of the transport costs,” he added.

The objective of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen cooperation between the EU member states and six participating states in the field of civil protection, with a view to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters.

“When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the mechanism,” the EU said.

It said following a request for assistance through the mechanism, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre mobilises assistance or expertise.

It said the ‘Team Europe’ is committed to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its health, social, economic, humanitarian, security and political impacts.

“With this approach, the EU is showing leadership, responsibility and solidarity with those most affected by the pandemic,” it said.

The EU said ‘Team Europe’ remains at the forefront of global efforts to ensure international access to vaccines, with a Euro 2.47 billion contribution to the COVAX initiative.

Till date, over Euro 40.5 million doses of vaccine have been delivered to more than 100 countries worldwide.

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