Canada sending $10M to Indian Red Cross to support COVID-19 fight
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will send $10 million through the Canadian Red Cross to the Indian Red Cross to help that country’s stretched health-care system cope with a record-setting number of COVID-19 infections.
Trudeau said the money will go to fund ambulance services and the local purchasing of personal protective equipment.
On Tuesday, India reported 323,144 new infections for a total of more than 17.6 million cases, behind only the United States. India's Health Ministry also reported another 2,771 deaths in the past 24 hours, with 115 Indians succumbing to the disease every hour. Experts say those figures are likely undercounted.
Trudeau said relevant ministers are also in touch with their Indian counterparts about what more Canada can do to help.
“We’ve all seen the heartbreaking news from hospitals in India that are unable to keep up with the number of patients. Earlier today, Minister Garneau spoke with his Indian counterpart about how Canada can best help, including through the donation of extra medical supplies,” said Trudeau.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand said she’s working with Garneau and International Development Minister Karina Gould on next steps.
“I have been in touch with Nadir Patel, our high commissioner in India, as well as Ajay Bisaria, India’s high commissioner in Canada to ascertain the precise supplies that are needed in India,” she said on Tuesday.
The U.S., the U.K. and France have all committed to sending vaccine-related materials, ventilators, oxygen and other supplies to the country.
In an interview on CTV News Channel’s Power Play on Tuesday Gould said talks are also ongoing as to whether Canada will receive its remaining 1.5 million AstraZeneca doses from India’s Serum Institute. To date, 500,000 have been shipped.
“As you know India does have export restrictions on vaccines right now so I know those conversations are ongoing. Of course, we know that vaccines are one important tool in fighting the pandemic, but it’s also really important to have other public health measures,” she said, reiterating that Canada will donate all extra vaccines to COVAX, a global vaccine sharing network designed to assist mostly middle to low-income countries.
With a file from The Associated Press.