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US sending aid to India as COVID-19 cases spike

US sending aid to India as COVID-19 cases spike
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The U.S. will send support to India’s government and health care workers as the country battles a new surge in coronavirus cases.

A White House spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters that administration officials are “in active conversations at high levels and plan to quickly deploy additional support to the Government of India and Indian health care workers as they battle this latest severe outbreak."

"We will have more to share very soon,” the spokesperson added.

India reported nearly 350,000 coronavirus cases on Saturday, a new all-time high for the country, which is also facing a shortage in oxygen supplies. Some hospitals in the nation have resorted to calling for help on Twitter as supplies dwindled.

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A spokesperson for the Indian Embassy told Reuters that both the U.S. and India are engaged at various levels to ensure components for vaccine production from the U.S. reached India.

On Sunday, the White House said that national security advisor Jake SullivanJake SullivanBiden must be firm, but measured, in his message to Putin on cyberattacks NATO members agree to new cyber defense policy NATO tackling climate change for first time MORE had spoken with his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, and affirmed the U.S.’s solidarity with the nation.

“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need,” National Security Council spokesperson Emile Horne said in a statement.

“To help treat COVID-19 patients and protect front-line health workers in India, the United States has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India,” Horne added. “The United States also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government have faced harsh criticism from many who have accused him of letting his guard down when it came to the pandemic earlier this year, Reuters notes. The U.S. government has also faced criticism from those who say export controls on raw ingredients have hampered vaccine production in India.

According to the World Health Organization, India has confirmed around 17 million coronavirus cases and nearly  200,000 related deaths. Over 130 million coronavirus vaccine doses have also been administered in India so far.