500 ventilators from Ontario arrive in India to help battle COVID-19 surge

India has received 500 made-in-Canada ventilators from Ontario as the country continues to battle a devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a tweet on Friday, Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for India’s ministry of external affairs, said it had received 500 ventilators from Ontario.

“Grateful to the Provincial Government of Ontario, Canada for this generous donation,” he wrote in the tweet.

In an email to Global News Saturday, Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Ontario Premier Doug Ford, confirmed the ventilators were sent by the province.

Yelich said the shipment is the “first tranche of the 3,000 made-in-Ontario ventilators that are landing in different parts of India over the next few days.”

Last month, Ford announced the province would be sending 3,000 Ontario-made ventilators to India as the country struggled to control the pandemic.

“We’ll continue to work with @Ajaybis & @_apoorvasri to provide whatever support we’re able to,” he wrote in a tweet.

According to a press release issued in late April, ventilators are being manufactured by O-Two Medical Technologies, a company based in Brampton.

Yelich said UPS is carrying all 3,000 ventilators on “various flights to different states in need.”

Read more: India’s COVID-19 crisis: As feds pledge $10M, here’s how Canadians can help

The news from Ontario comes just days after the High Commission of Canada in India confirmed 300  ventilators from the federal government had arrived in India.

The commission confirmed the latest shipment arrived aboard a Canadian Armed Forces cargo plane on Thursday.

Last week, Canada’s high commissioner to India, Nadir Patel, welcomed the first consignment of what he described in a tweet as “urgently-needed” medical supplies including 25,000 vials of anti-viral COVID-19 medication remdesivir and 50 ventilators.

In an email to Global News Saturday, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada confirmed “all 350 ventilators have now been delivered to India.”

Last month, the federal government also pledged $10 million in humanitarian assistance to the Canadian Red Cross to support the Indian Red Cross Society’s response in India.

Speaking at a press conference announcing the aid last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the money would “support everything from ambulance services to buying more PPE locally.”

Click to play video: 'Aid from Canada arrives in COVID-stricken India' 1:26 Aid from Canada arrives in COVID-stricken India

Aid from Canada arrives in COVID-stricken India

In the last 24-hours, India reported 326,098 new COVID-19 infections and 3,890 deaths, however, experts have cautioned that both figures are likely an undercount.

The second wave of the pandemic has been driven, in large part, by a new, more transmissible variant of the coronavirus, B.1.617.

The country’s healthcare system has also reported shortages in oxygen.

Read more: As COVID-19 cases explode in India, Canada ready to help with medical supplies: Anand

To date, India has seen 24,372,907 COVID-19 infections, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University, and the virus has claimed 266,207 lives in the country.

Last month, Canada’s federal government announced all flights from India would be halted, in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. The flight ban is scheduled to expire on May 22.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau on why flights continue to arrive every day in Canada amid concerns about COVID-19 outbreak' 1:43 Trudeau on why flights continue to arrive every day in Canada amid concerns about COVID-19 outbreak

Trudeau on why flights continue to arrive every day in Canada amid concerns about COVID-19 outbreak – Apr 21, 2021

However, on Thursday, Air Canada announced it would be extending its ban until June 22.

The federal government, though, has not announced an extension.

Read more: COVID-19: Air Canada extends flight ban from India to June 22

Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Allison St. Jean said in a statement to Global News that the ministry is monitoring the COVID-19 situation in India and Pakistan closely and will determine next steps based on “evidence and advice of public health experts.”

She did not confirm whether the federal government will extend its ban.

-With a file from Emerald Bensadoun, Eric Stober and The Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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