People line up for the coronavirus vaccine in Mumbai, India. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Kuwait has sent 215 metric tonnes of oxygen and over 1,000 oxygen cylinders to India, which is currently grappling with a devastating surge in COVID-19 infections, according to a Kuwaiti diplomat.

Kuwait’s Ambassador to India Jassim Al Najim added that his country’s relief campaign to support India continues. An Indian navy ship has left the Kuwait’s Port of Al Shuwaikh loaded with 40 metric tonnes of oxygen and a large number of oxygen cylinders, the envoy told Kuwait’s official news agency KUNA.

Two other Indian navy vessels are due to leave later Thursday Kuwait carrying 100 metric tonnes of oxygen to help ease the impact of a mutating strain of the novel coronavirus in the South Asian country.

“Efforts are under way to secure India’s oxygen needs and the continuation of a sea lift by refilling the oxygen tanks aboard the Indian navy ships,” he said. “With these huge quantities, Kuwait stands out among the world’s countries offering most oxygen supplies to India,” he added, stressing Kuwait’s keenness to help alleviate the Indians’ suffering “amid this health disaster”.

Late last month, Kuwait declared solidarity with India as its health system has crumbled under the strain of the virus surge, and pledged to send oxygen and other medical supplies to the country.

Urgent aid

Several countries across the globe have pledged urgent aid to India amid reports that its hospitals have run out of oxygen supplies and find it hard to cope with the dramatic increase in COVID-19 patients.

Kuwait last month suspended all commercial flights with India until further notice due to the health scene there.

The ban applies to passengers directly coming from India or through a third country unless they have stayed for at least 14 days outside India.

Indians in Kuwait are almost 1 million, being one of the largest foreign communities in the Gulf country. Exempted from the ban, which went into effect on April 24, are Kuwaiti citizens, their first-degree relatives (husband, wife and children) and accompanying domestic workers.