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Australia PM Morrison dials PM Modi to thank India for COVID vaccines; under fire over IPL

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Amid India grappling with the deadly spread of COVID-19 infections, Australia amongst several other countries, has come forward to lend its medical support to the subcontinent. In light of the mounting crisis posed by record-breaking COVID-19 figures in India, media reports, and gutting images of collapsing medical infrastructure, several countries have been outpouring solidarity with Indians’ ordeal.

Earlier on Friday, after Australian PM Scott Morrison established that he had a word with PM Modi about the ongoing tussle between Indian medical/ health infrastructure and rapidly multiplicating COVID-19 infections in the country, the former pledged to support the latter at the outset. 

Exponential hike in COVID-19 infections across India since the inception of the second wave has evidently overburdened the Indian production sector, the medical infrastructure, and thousands of frontline medical staff in the country. Australia’s PM Scott Morrison said that his nation is set to provide India with medical ventilators and oxygen concentrators as against grave shortages across states. He also mentioned India’s contribution of COVID-19 vaccines to the world. Taking to his official Twitter account, PM Morrison expressed,

Previously, Israel, Netherlands, Germany, Romania on behalf of the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, Bhutan amongst few others have come forward in providing assistance to India in procuring tonnes of liquid medical oxygen, Oxygen concentrators, transporting mobile oxygen plants, drugs, and vaccines against the destructive COVID-19 second-wave. This inflow of medical oxygen from overseas and from newly established oxygen plants across India would meet oxygen requisites across states which are currently facing grave shortages. In the recent past, COVID-19 patients have succumbed to the virus due to a dearth of medical oxygen supply at hospitals. 

Earlier on Friday, a shipment containing lifesaving medical supplies arrived by air or waterways in India from the Netherlands, Singapore, Kuwait Switzerland and Poland. 

Australia lifts ban on its citizens flying from COVID-19 hit India

Australia will lift a ban on its citizens returning from COVID-hit India from next Saturday and the first repatriation flight will land in the city of Darwin the same day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday

The Australian government, for the first time in history, recently imposed a temporary ban on its citizens from returning home, if they have spent time in India up to 14 days before flying back. The government had threatened to prosecute them with a possibility of five years of jail term or a penalty of 66,000 Australian dollars (USD 50,899).

The move triggered a backlash with several lawmakers, doctors, civil societies and businessmen criticising the government for “abandoning” Australians in India and threatening the travellers with a hefty penalty and a jail term. The government’s order on the matter is set to expire on May 15. Following the National Security Committee on Friday, Morrison agreed it saw “no need to extend it beyond that date”. Morrison has particularly come under fire from Australian IPL cricketers against whom his government and other cricketing authorities in Australia have made some truly obnoxious statements.

COVID-19 tally India

India breached a new grim record after it recorded 4,12,262 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. This was the highest single-day spike since the outbreak of COVID-19. Extended the total tally of cases in India to 2,10,77,410. As of May 7, there are 35,66,398 active COVID-19 cases in the country which has witnessed 3,29,113 recoveries and 3,980 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 16.48 crore, the health ministry said on Thursday. On the 111th day (May 6) of the vaccination drive, a total of 22,98,530 vaccine doses were given — 10,24,548 beneficiaries received the first dose and 12,73,982 took the second dose — according to a provisional report, the ministry said.

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