COVID-19: New Zealand joins other countries in pledging support to India

New Zealand has pledged $1 million to assist India as the country battles a devastating second wave of COVID-19 - but how does it compare to other countries?

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced the aid on Wednesday as COVID-19 cases in India spiral out of control and thousands of new deaths are reported every day.

"We stand in solidarity with India at this difficult time, and commend the tireless efforts of India's frontline medics and healthcare workers who are working hard to save lives," she said.

The money will go to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) which is working directly with the local Indian Red Cross Society to provide oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, and other crucial medical supplies to Indian communities.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo credit: Newshub

The IFRC is also scaling up to provide other services in India including an intensified ambulance and blood service and wider distribution of medical supplies.

"We believe a contribution to an international organisation that has a reputation for delivery is the most practical assistance we can make to India at this time," Mahuta said.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to assist the Indian government. We extend our deepest sympathies to the whānau and friends of those who have had their lives cut short by this terrible virus."

But how does New Zealand's support compare to other countries?

United States

"You let me know what you need and we will do it" - President Joe Biden told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a phone call on Monday, according to Kurt Campbell, the White House's national security council coordinator for the Indo-Pacific.

Campbell said the United States had pledged sustained support for the COVID-19 ravaged nation.

He said the United States is committed to helping India get to grips with the virus, especially as the country is an important global provider of vaccines.

"We all have to realize that this is not a challenge that is going to resolve (in) the next several days," he said.

The United States has also sent immediate supplies to India, National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement.

"Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need."

They are expected to provide raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines, along with medical equipment and PPE.

US President Joe Biden.
US President Joe Biden. Photo credit: Getty


Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday unveiled an initial support package to help India, which came as he announced the suspension of all flights between the two countries for two weeks to prevent the spread of the virus.

"We also have to reach out and support India," Morrison said.

"What Australia will do is provide an initial package, there will be more to follow, of support and to do this as soon as possible - 500 non-invasive ventilators, 1 million surgical masks, 500,000 P2 and N95 masks, 100,000 surgical gowns, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields. We will also agree to commence procurement of 100 oxygen concentrators along with tanks and consumables. The DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) will manage the movement of this equipment over the course of the next week."

He said it was likely more assistance would follow.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo credit: Getty

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is also sending around 600 pieces of medical equipment to India, including oxygen concentrators and ventilators, CNN and The Guardian reported.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain stood "side by side with India as a friend and partner [...] I'm determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against pandemic".

The supplies began arriving on Tuesday.

Other support

An Indian foreign ministry official said France is sending over eight large oxygen generating plants. Ireland and Germany are sending oxygen concentrators and ventilators to help with their response.

The World Health Organisation is also planning to deliver 4000 oxygen concentrators.

Two US drugmakers have offered support. Gilead Sciences said it would give India at least 450,000 vials of its antiviral drug remdesivir, and Merck & Co said on Tuesday it was partnering with five Indian generic drugmakers to expand production and access to its experimental COVID-19 drug molnupiravir.