Top US lawmakers have expressed serious concern over the sudden spike in coronavirus cases in India, saying it is “heartbreaking” to see the “crisis utterly overwhelm the health systems” in the country.
“India’s latest surge of COVID-19 infections is a humanitarian crisis that requires our assistance,” Congressman Brad Sherman, Democratic Co-Chair of India Caucus in the House of Representatives, said on Friday.
“As long as COVID-19 persists in India, there is the potential for additional variants that could pose a serious threat to a vaccinated America. We must do our part to quell the virus anywhere and everywhere it persists,” Congressman Sherman said.
A variant strain of the virus, known as B.1.617, is circulating in India, along with other variant strains, including B.1.1.7, first detected in the United Kingdom, and B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.
A day earlier, Mr Sherman and his other colleagues Republican Co-Chair Steve Chabot, Democratic Vice Chair Ro Khanna, and Republican Vice Chair Michael Waltz held a detailed meeting with Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and on Friday they wrote a letter to President Joe Biden seeking increased aid to India.
I thank my India Caucus colleagues for working together to help get India the oxygen, therapeutics, and personal protective equipment it so desperately needs, Sherman said.
“It is heartbreaking to watch the COVID-19 crisis utterly overwhelm the health systems in India,” Mr Chabot said.
“As co-chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans and the Ranking Member of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, I appreciate the aid the administration is sending to our friends in India during their time of need,” he said.
“But the administration must do more, which is why I am joining with the other Members of India Caucus leadership to push for additional assistance, particularly with respect to oxygen and oxygen production equipment that is so urgently needed. America must help India chart a path out of this horrific pandemic,” Mr Chabot said.
“We are watching a catastrophe unfold in India. Someone is dying of COVID-19 every four minutes in New Delhi. The least we can do is give the world the tools to prevent more deaths,” Ro Khanna said.
“We must do our part to quell the virus anywhere and everywhere it persists. It is not enough to vaccinate every American. We need to ensure the world beats this thing. That’s why the India Caucus is asking President Biden to send more oxygen and other medical supplies to help India in the manufacturing of additional vaccines. There’s simply too much at stake,” he said.
Michael Waltz said the United States’ cooperation to curb the recent COVID-19 wave in India is imperative for America’s national interest.
“India is the world’s largest democracy and an essential ally with the third largest military in the world and a border with China. India’s strength is important to stability in Asia and the United States,” Mr Waltz said.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with around 400,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days and hospitals are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)