The world’s largest cargo plane took off from Belfast in Northern Ireland on Friday, carrying three 18-tonne oxygen generators and 1,000 ventilators as part of the United Kingdom’s latest response to India’s Covid-19 crisis.
Officials said in London that airport staff worked through the night to load the life-saving kit, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office aboard the massive Antonov 124 aircraft.
Each of the three oxygen generation units — the size of 40-foot freight containers — produces 500 litres of oxygen per minute, enough for 50 people to use at a time. They are expected to reach India on Sunday morning, where the Indian Red Cross will help transfer them to hospitals.
The latest consignment is in addition to 200 ventilators and 495 oxygen concentrators, which the UK sent to India in late April. Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their virtual summit earlier this week that the UK will do all it can to help.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The UK is sending surplus oxygen generators from Northern Ireland to India. This life-saving equipment will support the country’s hospitals as they care for vulnerable Covid patients”.