Edhi Foundation has offered a fleet of 50 ambulances and services of its staff to India in a bid to manage the country’s coronavirus situation, which is turning worse with each passing day.
India’s health system is staggering owing to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, with several hospitals running out of oxygen to supply coronavirus patients, resulting in a large number of people dying from the infection.
“As a neighbouring friend, we sympathise with you greatly and during this strenuous time, we would like to extend our help in the form of a fleet of 50 ambulances along with our services to assist you in addressing, and further circumventing, the current health conditions,” reads a letter written by Faisal Edhi, Chairman of the Edhi Foundation.
Edhi offered to personally lead and manage the humanitarian team from his foundation, adding that “our organization understands the gravity of the situation, and we wish to lend you our full support, without any inconvenience to you, which is why we will arrange all the necessary supplies that our team needs to assist the people of India”.
The philanthropist wrote in the letter that the Edhi Foundation team would include emergency staff, medical technicians, office staff, drivers, and supporting staff members. He said the Foundation would require no help from India as it would make arrangements for its staff’s fuel, food and other amenities.
“We only request your permission to enter India as well as any necessary guidance from the local administration and police department,” he wrote, adding that the Edhi Foundation was ready to deploy its team in critical areas of the country.
“We look forward to assisting you in managing the current humanitarian crises, and hope only to provide our help in whatever way that we can, for the benefit of the people of India,” he concluded the letter.
Indian healthcare system collapses as coronavirus cases surge again
India recorded the world’s highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for the second day in a row on Friday, while daily deaths from COVID-19 also jumped by a record.
With 332,730 new cases, India’s total caseload has now passed 16 million.
Deaths in the past 24 hours, deaths also jumped to a record 2,263, the health ministry said, while officials across northern and western India, including the capital, New Delhi, warned most hospitals were full and running out of oxygen.
The spike in cases came as a fire in a hospital in a suburb of Mumbai treating COVID-19 patients killed 13 people on Friday, the latest accident to hit a facility in India crowded with people infected with the coronavirus.
“The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter, approving payouts for the victims’ relatives.
On Wednesday, 22 COVID-19 patients died at a public hospital in Maharashtra state when their oxygen supply ran out after a leak in the tank. At least nine coronavirus patients died in a hospital fire in Mumbai on March 26.
Daily infections hit 332,730 on Friday, up from 314,835 the previous day when India set a new record, surpassing one set by the United States in January of 297,430 new cases. The US tally has since fallen.
Delhi reported more than 26,000 new cases and 306 deaths, or about one fatality every five minutes, the fastest since the pandemic began.
Medical oxygen and beds have become scarce, with major hospitals putting up notices saying they have no room for any more patients and police being deployed to secure oxygen supplies.
Max Healthcare, which runs a network of hospitals in northern and western India posted an appeal on Twitter on Friday for emergency supplies of oxygen at its facility in Delhi.
“We regret to inform you that we are suspending any new patient admissions in all our hospitals in Delhi … till oxygen supplies stabilise,” the company said.
Similar desperate calls from hospitals and ordinary people have been posted on social media for days this week across the country.
Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan in the United States, said it was now as if there was no social safety net for Indians.
“Everyone is fighting for their own survival and trying to protect their loved ones. This is hard to watch,” he said.