As India reported the world's highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for the third day, surpassing 345,000 new cases, Pakistan on Saturday offered Covid-19 support to India in a gesture of solidarity.
India is in the grip of a rampaging second wave of the pandemic, hitting a rate of one Covid-19 death in just under every four minutes in Delhi as the capital's underfunded health system buckles.
The country's coronavirus infections rose by 346,786 overnight, the health ministry said, setting a new world record for the third consecutive day, as overwhelmed hospitals in the densely-populated country begged for oxygen supplies.
The Indian government has deployed military planes and trains to get oxygen from the far corners of the country to Delhi. Television showed an oxygen truck arriving at Delhi's Batra hospital after it issued an SOS saying it had 90 minutes of oxygen left for its 260 patients.
Read more: India’s daily coronavirus cases climb to new world record as hospitals buckle
"Please help us get oxygen, there will be a tragedy here," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed in a news conference on Friday.
"As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of Covid-19, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support to India including ventilators, Bi PAP, digital X-ray machines, PPEs (Personal protective equipments) and related items," a statement from the Foreign Office said.
The statement said that the concerned authorities of Pakistan and India can work out modalities for quick delivery of the relief items. "They can also explore possible ways of further cooperation to mitigate the challenges posed by the pandemic."
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also shared the message of 'humanity first' on his official Twitter handle.
As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of #COVID19, Pakistan has officially offered relief & support to #India, including ventilators, Bi PAP, digital X ray machines, PPEs & other related items. We believe in a policy of #HumanityFirst
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) April 24, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed solidarity with the people of India. The premier said the country's prayers are with all those suffering from the deadly virus and for their early recovery in "our neighbourhood and the world".
I want to express our solidarity with the people of India as they battle a dangerous wave of COVID-19. Our prayers for a speedy recovery go to all those suffering from the pandemic in our neighbourhood & the world. We must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 24, 2021
He added that all countries must fight the global health crisis together as confronts humanity as a whole.
Also read: PM Imran expresses solidarity with people of India as Covid-19 surges
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has also expressed concern over the Covid-19 situation across the border.
“In these difficult times our prayers are with people of India may God be kind and may these difficult times get over soon,” the information minister wrote on his official Twitter handle.
In these difficult times our prayers are with people of #India may God be kind and may these difficult times gets over soon. #coronavirus
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) April 24, 2021
Pakistani citizens also rallied for their neighbours and called on PM Imran to alleviate the situation in India.
On Friday, Faisal Edhi, son of celebrated philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi and chairman of the foundation also offered help to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Health experts said India became complacent in the winter, when new cases were running at about 10,000 a day and seemed to be under control, lifting restrictions that allowed for the resumption of big gatherings.
Others said that it could also be a more dangerous variant of the virus coursing through the world's second most populous country where people live in close proximity, often six to a room.
"While complacency in adhering to masks and physical distancing might have played a role, it seems increasingly likely that this second wave has been fuelled by a much more virulent strain," wrote Vikram Patel, Professor of Global Health at Harvard Medical School, in the Indian Express.
WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan said reducing transmission in India would be a “very difficult task” but the government was working on limiting mixing between people, which he said was essential.
(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)