China on Thursday said it was ready to help India to provide support and medical supplies to India as the country faces the most destructive second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, putting its health infrastructure under severe strain.
India reported 314,835 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day count. India’s death toll from the disease rose by 2,104 in the same time period.
India’s tally of confirmed cases is now nearly 16 million, second only to America’s count of almost 32 million, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker.
Responding to a question from Chinese media on Thursday on the destructive pandemic situation in India, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijing was ready to help.
“The Covid-19 epidemic is the common enemy of all mankind. The international community needs to unite as one to fight against the epidemic,” Wang said.
“The Chinese side notes that the epidemic situation in India is severe and there is a temporary shortage of epidemic prevention and medical supplies. We are ready to provide necessary support and assistance to India so that they can control the epidemic,” Wang added.
It is seen that Indian private companies have been trying to arrange supplies from China, they have been hit by a sudden escalation of air freight costs over the last couple of days.
Last Year India helped Beijing with Medical Supplies during the Covid-19 outbreak. India had provided 15 tonnes of medical supplies comprising masks, gloves, and emergency medical equipment at a cost of about ₹2.11 crore to China at that time.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha in March last year, External Affairs Minister of State V Muraleedharan mentioned that the medical supplies included 100,000 surgical masks, 500,000 pairs of surgical gloves, 4,000 N-95 masks, 75 infusion pumps, 30 enteral feeding pumps, and 21 defibrillators.
In February 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to President Xi Jinping, regarding New Delhi’s assistance to fight the outbreak.
China had returned the favor in April, dispatching dozens of aircraft with Covid-related medical supplies when the first wave of the pandemic became severe in India.
India-bound flights had taken off from Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xi’an, and Hong Kong, carrying 390 tonnes of medical supplies.
Soon after, however, ties plunged to their worst in decades following military friction along the disputed border in eastern Ladakh. Nearly a year later, the two countries are still grappling to completely defuse the situation.