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Singapore sends oxygen cylinders to support India’s fight against COVID-19, South Korea promises help too

Singapore: The Singapore government has sent a consignment of oxygen cylinders to support India’s COVID-19 pandemic response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force is transporting the cylinders on board two C-130 aircraft from Singapore to West Bengal, according to a report by Channel News Asia.

Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Maliki Osman handed over the two planeloads of oxygen cylinders to India’s High Commissioner P Kumaran at Paya Lebar Air Base on Wednesday morning.

“We have all witnessed in the past year how this pandemic is a transboundary threat,” Maliki said at the airbase. “It gives no regard for country, nationality or race. This is exactly why we must work collectively to support each other,” the Channel quoted him as saying.

Minister Maliki Osman flagged off 2 of the Singapore Air Force’s C-130s, arriving in India today with 256 Oxygen cylinders: Singapore’s diplomatic missions in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai#COVID19

Singapore and India share a close relationship, Maliki said, thanking the Indian government for continuing to work with Singapore throughout the pandemic by “keeping supply chains open and essential goods flowing.”

“While our contribution is modest, we hope that it will bring comfort and relief to those in need and encourage those on the frontline in India, who are working tirelessly, to fight on. I have no doubt that the fighting spirit of the Indian people will prevail,” Maliki said.

Singapore investment firm Temasek has also sent medical equipment while India’s Tata Group donated four cryogenic oxygen cylinders sourced from Singapore. That consignment landed in West Bengal over the weekend.

India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

India saw a record single-day rise of 3,60,960 coronavirus cases, which pushed the total tally to 1,79,97,267, while the death toll crossed two lakh following 3,293 fresh fatalities, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
The death toll stands at 2,01,187, it said.

Meanwhile, South Korea has said that it will provide India with oxygen concentrators, COVID-19 diagnostic kits and other aid items to help the South Asian nation with the world’s worst surge in coronavirus infections.

Health official Yoon Taeho said Wednesday the government will also allow irregular flights to bring back South Korean nationals from India. He says those returning will undergo virus tests three times and be placed under quarantine.

Yoon didn’t elaborate on the amount of aid items South Korea will send to India. The country’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the amount of material it was considering sending to India would be considerable.

Earlier Wednesday, South Korea reported 775 new virus cases, taking the country’s total to 120,673, with 1,821 deaths.