U.S. aid flights will begin arriving in India on Thursday and continue into next week, bringing urgent supplies like oxygen support, personal protective equipment, and rapid diagnostic tests to the hard-hit country.
“Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need,” the White House said in a fact sheet outlining the aid.
The White House said that the U.S. will be sending supplies worth more than $100 million to India, including 1,000 refillable oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks, and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests. The Biden administration has also redirected its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow it to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the White House.
Meanwhile, in a Level 4 travel advisory — the highest issued by the Department of State — the U.S. told its citizens to get out of India as soon as possible, as the country’s COVID-19 crisis worsens at an astonishing pace. “Access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited. … U.S. citizens who wish to depart India should take advantage of available commercial transportation options now,” a high-level travel advisory said on Wednesday.
Indian authorities and hospitals are struggling to cope with unprecedented COVID-19 infections and deaths. Official data on Thursday showed new cases rose by a staggering 379,257 over the prior 24 hours — more than any other country has recorded in a single day. The virus also killed a record 3,645 people in India in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s official death toll to 204,832.