The World Health Organization chief raised an alarm over India’s record-breaking wave of Covid-19 cases and deaths, saying the organisation was rushing to help address the crisis. “The situation in India is beyond heartbreaking,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told mediapersons.
The WHO also said it had transferred more than 2,600 of its experts from various programmes, including polio and tuberculosis, to work with Indian health authorities to help respond to the pandemic.
He spoke as India fights a catastrophic second coronavirus wave that has overwhelmed hospitals, with crematoriums working overtime.
India, in fourth place, has in recent days been driving the global caseload.
A surge in recent days has seen patients’ families taking to social media to plead for beds and oxygen supplies even as New Delhi has extended its week-long lockdown.
“WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies,” Tedros said.
He said the UN health agency was among other things sending “thousands of oxygen concentrators, prefabricated mobile field hospitals and laboratory supplies”. The country of 1.3 billion has become the latest hotspot of a pandemic that has killed more than three million people worldwide.
The US and Britain rushed ventilators and vaccine materials to help India weather the crisis, while a range of other countries also pledged support.