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Coronavirus | USAID to fund 200 ventilators for India to help tackle COVID-19

Logo of USAID

Logo of USAID   | Photo Credit: Twitter/@USAID

The ventilators, originally built for use in U.S., are being ‘repurposed’ for donations to several countries, including India

India would take delivery of 200 ventilators donated by the United States within the next month, government sources said on Monday.

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The ventilators, which would be paid for by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), would arrive in May and June and the final delivery schedule notified next week, the sources said.

USAID, which would pay the company producing the ventilators directly, would also send the technical specifications of the equipment being sent, the sources stated.

While the government has not commented on the total value of the donation, it is likely to be funded by an additional grant of $3 million that USAID made last month.

Also read: COVID-19 | BEL to make 30,000 ventilators within two months: Defence Ministry

In a statement on April 16, the U.S. government said the funds through USAID would help “mitigate the spread of COVID-19” and focus on financing healthcare access.

The ventilators, originally built for use in the U.S., were being “repurposed” for donations to several countries, including India, U.S. officials said.

While the U.S. has seen more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19, including about 90,000 deaths, India has seen 1,00,000 cases (about 56,000 active ones and 3,029 deaths).

“India has been a great partner to us for quite some time, and I’m encouraged here about the ventilators to India, said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Saturday.

“It’s one of the several countries I noted that will be getting ventilators, because, you know, this President has done so well on ventilators — 100,000 [manufactured] in 100 days — that we are able to repurpose them and then send them around the world,” Ms McEnany added, responding to a question on President Donald Trump’s tweet that the U.S. would donate the ventilators and “stand with India and PM Narendra Modi during this pandemic”.

Drugs export

The U.S. decision comes about a month after the Government of India revoked a ban on the export of drugs like Hydroxychloroquine and Paracetamol, which Mr. Trump had specifically requested.

State Helpline numbers | State-wise tracker | A map of confirmed cases in India

It is unclear whether the ventilator donation came in response to a specific request from India.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India has 18,855 ventilators available for COVID-19 patients at present, while the government’s Empower group tasked with COVID-19 response said about 60,000 more had been ordered. On May 15, Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said about 0.45% of the COVID-19 patients in India were on ventilator.

(With inputs from Bindu Shajan Perappadan)

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 10:12:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/usaid-to-fund-200-ventilators-for-india-to-help-tackle-covid-19/article31612220.ece

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