As India suffers the world’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 cases, global and domestic corporate giants are pitching in resources from airlifting of medical equipment, making medical oxygen and setting up hospitals to supplement a public health system buckling under the weight of surging infections and deaths.
Amazon and Google as well as Indian firms Tata Sons, Reliance Industries Ltd and Adani Group have set up Covid hospitals, airlifted cryogenic tankers from abroad for transporting medical oxygen and contributed funds to aid the Covid battle, according to company announcements and industry sources. India has reported more than 3,00,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for two weeks, and reached more than 4 lakh new daily cases over the weekend. More than 2.42 lakh people in India have died from the virus infection.
While Google CEO Sundar Pichai last month announced USD 18 million donation, Amazon said 1,000 Medtronic ventilators will be delivered to India. Microsoft said it would work to provide India with 1,000 ventilators and 25,000 oxygen concentration devices.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries tweaked manufacturing at its oil refineries to produce over 1,000 tonnes of medical grade liquid oxygen per day — or over 11 per cent of India’s total production – meeting the needs of nearly every one in 10 patients. It has also set up 1,875 hospital beds for free treatment of Covid patients in Jamnagar in Gujarat and Mumbai.
India’s largest steel maker JSW has stopped making some steel products to produce hundreds of tonnes of oxygen for hard-hit areas. It said it was building large COVID care centres around its plants, so that they can be serviced via a pipeline.
While Wipro and Azim Premji Foundation converted one IT facility in Pune into a 430-bed intermediary care Covid hospital, Infosys has set up a 100 room Covid hospital in Bangaluru in association with Narayana Health, providing free care to the poor.
Cipla supported Maharashtra government in setting up Covid isolation ward, Vedanta is setting up a field hospital in Delhi NCR and Adani Foundation set up hospitals in Gujarat and even converted the Adani Vidya Mandir school in Ahmedabad into an emergency COVID Care Centre with oxygen support and catered food.
Tata Group made about 5,000 beds available to Covid patients through its group companies and ITC set up a 200-bed makeshift hospital in Kishore Bharati Stadium, given by West Bengal government, for Covid patients in a record 72 hours.
State-owned State Bank of India set up 1,000-bed makeshift hospitals, 250-bed ICU facilities and 1,000-bed isolation facilities across the country, while Coal India Ltd set up the largest number of Covid beds totalling 2,000, including 750 oxygen and 70 ICU beds.
Tata Group also imported 1,000 cryogenic containers to transport liquid oxygen, supplying 900 tonnes of oxygen everyday to state government hospitals.While Adani Group procured 48 cryogenic tanks from leading manufacturers in countries like Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and UAE, Reliance airlifted 24 ISO (certified by the International Organization for Standardization) containers for transporting medical-grade liquid oxygen.
Tech Mahindra supplied medical equipment, including ventilators, to over 20 hospitals and L&T Group committed to supplying 22 oxygen generators to needy hospitals across India. Coal India also committed to installing 2 oxygen generating plants through its subsidiaries. Walmart Foundation committed to supply about 20 oxygen generator plants and an equal number of cryogenic containers.A host of corporates also contributed hundreds of crores of rupees to PM-Care and other funds as also supplying PPE kits and medicines.