Wales to send almost 1,000 medical supplies including hundreds of ventilators to Covid-struck India

A devastating surge of Covid infections is tearing through India, with the country's health care systems on the brink of collapse. Credit: PA Images

Wales is set to send hundreds of medical items to India, where a surge in the number of Covid cases and related deaths has put extreme pressure on the country's health system.

Last week, the official count of coronavirus cases in India surpassed 20 million, while its official death toll passed 220,000.

Like many other nations, experts believe the death toll and infection count could be an underestimation due to the way in which deaths are classified.

For a week earlier this month, more than 2,000 Indians were dying every day.

The Welsh Government and NHS Wales have announced they are providing around 600 oxygen concentrators and more than 300 ventilators.

Vaughan Gething and Professor Keshav Singhal inspected the equipment on Monday. Credit: Welsh Government

Health minister Vaughan Gething said: "Covid-19 is a global threat and as such it is right that we are part of the global response, supporting other nations.

"We have worked closely with the UK Government and the Government of India on the logistics in arranging for these supplies to be transported to India and distributed to the hospitals where they are needed most.”

Mr Gething and Professor Keshav Singhal, Wales chair of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, visited the NHS Wales National Distribution Centre on Monday to inspect the supplies.

The items are due to leave for India in the coming days.

Some families are having to bury and cremate their own loved ones who have died with Covid. Credit: PA Images

On Tuesday, ITV News reported that India's largest and oldest graveyard was full for the first time in its 97-year history.

Due to Covid, the burial site in Delhi met full capacity, with grave diggers already having to plan where next to send the bodies of virus victims.

India's healthcare workers are having to face the impossible choice of who to keep alive amid a shortage of oxygen.

There are warnings that the country is yet to see the worst of the crisis.

Indian communities in Wales have told ITV News of their worry for family members still living in the country.

A Covid patient who travelled to hospital by tuk tuk due to a lack of ambulances waits for a vacant bed. Credit: PA Images

A new variant of Covid-19, known as the Indian variant, has been found in the country with scientists still investigating whether this has been behind the surge in cases there.

In Wales, cases of this new variant have also been found.

Last month, Professor Singhal said: ''The Indian variation has a double mutation, and there is some suggestion that it may be more resistant to the effects of the vaccine so there is a cause of concern.

''I wouldn't say this is a cause for concern for the UK, for the simple reason that we are testing and tracing and genome sequencing these very effectively.

''But for the whole world the Indian variant could be a cause for concern.''