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Swiss offer Covid help to India

People in a Covid care centre
Many hospitals and care centres in India are struggling to cope with the massive surge of Covid cases. Keystone/Idrees Mohammed

Switzerland has joined other countries in offering humanitarian aid to India to support its health system.

Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said Switzerland would provide notably oxygen, ventilators and protective material if India accepted the offer.

“We are ready to send material worth CHF1 million ($1.1 million) quite quickly,” he told Swiss public television, SRF.

Hospitals in India are filled to capacity as the country has been hit by a second wave of Covid-19 infections, according to news reports.

There have been at least 300,000 infections daily with the virus over the past week overwhelming healthcare facilities and crematoriums. The official death toll exceeds 200,000.

Several countries, including Britain, Germany, Australia, Ireland and Taiwan sent supplies. Canada pledged $10 million and said it was also ready to donate extra medical supplies, according to the Reuters news agency. US President Joe Biden announced he intended to ship vaccines to India.

Health experts say the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, is susceptible to contagion from the highly infectious variants in India, given the region’s low ratios of vaccination.

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