Amazon India on Sunday said it has joined hands with ACT Grants, Temasek Foundation, Pune Platform for COVID-19 Response (PPCR) and other partners to urgently airlift over 8,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 BiPAP machines from Singapore. All the organisations are working closely with the Indian government to expedite the entry of these oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines into the country, Amazon said in a blogpost. These medical equipment will be donated to hospitals and public institutions to augment their capacity to help COVID-19 infected patients across multiple cities, it added.
The first of these consignments will land in Mumbai on late Sunday night (on April 25) and a majority of the shipping is expected to be completed by April 30, it said. India is registering a record number of COVID cases daily that has put extreme pressure on the healthcare infrastructure of the country. The number of new COVID infections touched 3,49,691 cases and 2,767 fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday at 8 am. The massive rise in infections in the second wave of the pandemic has led to hospitals in several states reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. Social media timelines are filled with SOS calls with people looking for oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, plasma donors and ventilators. The PMO on Sunday said that 551 dedicated pressure swing Adsorption (PSA) medical oxygen generation plants will be set up in public health facilities across the country through PM Cares Fund to boost availability of the life-saving gas.
The PM Cares Fund has given in-principle approval for allocation of funds for their installation, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi directing these plants should be made functional as soon as possible. Also, to make oxygen available to more people, the Centre has barred the use of liquid oxygen for any non-medical purpose and asked manufacturing units to maximise its production and make it available to the government for medical use. The government has also directed all major ports to waive all charges for ships carrying oxygen and related equipment. Amazon, in its blogpost, said will bear the cost of airlifting these machines, procured through multiple funders including ACT Grants and PPCR, from Singapore to India, through Air India and other international carriers. Additionally, Amazon will also manage the movement of these oxygen concentrators and other donations from the local airport to identified hospitals and institutions.
“COVID-19 has severely impacted India in unimaginable ways. We stand firmly with the country, deploying our global logistics network to urgently airlift the needed oxygen concentrators to support the nation’s immediate need. We continue to explore other meaningful ways to help in saving lives and are committed to support the nation in this time of crisis,” Amazon Global SVP and Country Head India Amit Agarwal said. Additionally, Amazon India is also procuring over 1,500 oxygen concentrators and other critical medical equipment that will be donated to hospitals and medical facilities in partnership with multiple non-profits including Swasth, Concern India and impact organisations like ACT Grants and Sattva Consulting, the blogpost said. A clutch of founders of Gurugram-based startups have launched ‘Mission Oxygen’ to raise crowdfunding for importing oxygen concentrators.
The startup founders aim to raise a total Rs 5 crore to meet the demand of 3,000 concentrators. The group has already procured 500 concentrators from China which will be made available in hospitals by April 28 and another 500 are expected to be ordered by Saturday evening, a statement said. The fundraiser has seen support coming from Bollywood celebrities including actor Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Bachchan and Kunal Kapoor among others. The initiative has been started by Democracy People Foundation and is being driven by Snehil Khanor of TrulyMadly, Mansha Kaur of Heart On My Sleeve, Hubhopper founder Gautam Raj Anand, Rahul Agarwal and Varun Agarwal of Designhill, Rahul Hari of Satvacart, Uday Anand of Mycrushfit, Gautam Ghai of Sourcefuse, Cuttlfish founder Shikher Gupta among others.