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European countries set up oxygen plants at Indian hospitals

The Italian embassy set-up this oxygen generating plant today at the ITBP hospital in Greater Noida (Photo courtesy: @ITBP_official)

India is mopping up medical equipment and supplies from friendly countries across the world as the Covid-19 second wave devastates the country. European countries, along with support from the European Union (EU), have been especially helpful in providing long-term and sustainable medical technologies to India.

On Thursday, the Italian embassy started an oxygen plant at the ITBP hospital in Greater Noida, near Delhi. The plant, which can provide oxygen to more than 100 Covid patients simultaneously, was installed in just 48 hours.  

Italian ambassador Vincenzo De Luca switched on the oxygen plant which had been flown in through a special Italian Air Force flight along with 20 ventilators. Italy provided the plant with support from the EU. De Luca said, “Italy stands with India in the fight against Coronavirus. This is a global challenge that we must tackle together. The medical team and equipment provided by Italy will contribute to saving lives in these terrible moments.”

The other European countries to have rushed oxygen plants include France and Ireland. The Germans too are in the midst of sending an exceptionally large plant to assist in defence forces. Italian and French embassy officials are working with their technical teams to install the oxygen generators in an emergency mode.

A couple of days back the French had installed an oxygen generating plant at the Narayana Super Speciality Hospital in east Delhi. This plant can fill up 48 cylinders weighing 40-60 litres of oxygen in 24 hours. The plant was set up within one day of arrival at the airport.

For the Narayana Super Speciality Hospital, the French plant will supplement two existing generators. It would allow it to add more oxygen beds besides reducing dependence on oxygen procurement from outside.

Northern Ireland has sent much oxygen equipment to India. This includes two oxygen generators, over 1,200 oxygen concentrators and over 7,00 ventilators. Ireland sent the equipment through two shipments. 

Germany is sending an oxygen generating plant for the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Covid Hospital at the Delhi cantonment. Walter J Lindner, German ambassador to India, told media persons in Delhi that his country is sending a massive oxygen generating plant which will be operated by 12 paramedics from its defence forces. These paramedics will also train Indian defence personnel in the use of managing this plant.

Being brought in two air force transport planes A400M, the plant will produce 4,00,000 litres of oxygen per day. One of the planes landed in Delhi on Thursday evening while the other will follow in the coming days.

Other European countries to send aid include Finland, Austria and Belgium. Many European countries are providing the aid through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which is coordinated by the Emergency Response Coordination Centre of the European Commission.