Ireland's emergency donation of 700 oxygen concentrators and other vital equipment has arrived in India.

The shipment was unloaded late last night at New Delhi's international airport as part of the European Union's coordinated response to its severe coronavirus outbreak.

Ireland contributed 700 oxygen concentrators and 365 ventilators.

The spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs tweeted the country's thanks, saying they "deeply value the support from our EU partner and friend Ireland".

The Minister for Health later stated that another consignment will leave Ireland for India on Monday, which will include two oxygen generators, 548 oxygen concentrators, 365 ventilators and 60 mask ventilators.

The first US emergency aid to India also arrived as the country battles a devastating surge in Covid-19 cases which has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

A Super Galaxy military transporter carrying more than 400 oxygen cylinders and other hospital equipment and nearly one million rapid coronavirus tests also landed at New Delhi's international airport.

India is currently recording a world record infection rate of more than 370,000 cases and 3,600 deaths a day and a huge international aid operation has been launched with dozens of countries promising help.

The delivery, which flew in from the Travis military base in California, followed talks this week between US President Joe Biden and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The United States is delivering supplies worth more than $100 million in the coming days to provide urgent relief to our partners in India," State Department spokesman Ned Price said yesterday.

US officials said the special flights, which will also bring equipment donated by companies and individuals, will continue into next week.


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Japan became the latest to offer help, announcing this morning that it would dispatch 300 oxygen concentrators and 300 ventilators to India.

"Japan stands with India, our friend and partner, in her efforts to fight (the) Covid-19 pandemic through this additional emergency assistance," the foreign ministry said.

More than 40 countries have committed to sending vital medical aid, particularly oxygen supplies, India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.

The supplies include almost 550 oxygen-generating plants, more than 4,000 oxygen concentrators, 10,000 oxygen cylinders as well as 17 cryogenic tankers.

Hundreds of thousands of doses of Covid-19 shots as well as raw materials to produce vaccines and medicines were also being sent, he said.

India has seen around 18.5 million infections, including more than six million this month. More than 200,000 have died, although many experts suspect the real figure is much higher.

In many areas outside the main hotspots of New Delhi and Maharashtra, hospitals are running out of beds as relatives of the sick desperately hunt for medicines and oxygen cylinders.

Many crematoriums are facing shortages of wood because of the surge in deaths, with each pyre requiring between 300 and 400 kilos of wood.

Some in the western city of Surat have started using wood that is not entirely dry and crop waste, pouring petrol on the pyre so that the wet wood burns properly.

The Indian government will open vaccinations to all adults from tomorrow, meaning around 600 million more people will be eligible.

Several states have warned, however, they do not have sufficient stocks and the expanded rollout is threatened by administrative bickering, confusion over prices and technical glitches on the government's digital vaccine platform.

Financial hub Mumbai, one of the major cities reeling from the new wave, said that it would halt inoculations from today to Sunday "owing to non-availability of vaccine stock".

Until now, only "frontline" workers like medical staff, people over 45 and those with existing illnesses have been given the AstraZeneca shot or Bharat Biotech's homegrown Covaxin.

But even this more modest programme has faltered.

So far around 150m shots have been administered, equating to 11.5% of the population of 1.3 billion people. Just 25m have had two shots.