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Snippets from UK: Apart from Britain, Now Germany and France Readying Aid for India

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From EU nations preparing to lend a helping hand to Covid-hit India to British Indian stars spreading vaccine awareness, a roundup of what's making news today.​

Germany Preparing to Send Medical Aid to India: Germany is preparing to send oxygen and other medical supplies to India this week. It’s mobilising its army medical units to supply a mobile oxygen production unit that could be moved to the most acute crisis spots within an area. The military is also putting together other emergency goods for use in Indian hospitals to fight the Covid crisis. But Germany has simultaneously banned the entry of Indian nationals. Only Germans can come to Germany now from India, and they will need a negative test result followed by a 14-day quarantine.

France Set to Send Oxygen Supplies: The French are stepping in with eight high-capacity oxygen generators with a capacity to supply oxygen to a hospital each for a period of ten years. The French are also supplying ramps for filling oxygen cylinders to take oxygen potentially beyond these hospitals, besides 28 ventilators and attendant equipment for ICUs. The French support comes just ahead of an India-EU summit next week to be held virtually. Prime Minister Modi was due to attend the summit in Porto in Portugal and then visit France for a meeting with President Macron. The visit was cancelled but like the British, the French are stepping up cooperation with India on all fronts, with the Covid front first.

Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth Shapes up for India Voyage: The flagship of the Royal Navy, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, is due to sail to India later this year at the head of UK’s Carrier Strike Group 21. The fleet includes destroyers and anti-submarine frigates. This will be the group’s maiden operational deployment. It is being carried out as a measure within Britain’s foreign policy tilt to focus on the Indo-Pacific region. The fleet will also visit Japan, South Korea and Singapore. The fleet will conduct a number of naval exercises together with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean.

British Indian Stars Shine Light on Vaccine Necessity: A number of local British Indian stars have come together to release a video to encourage uptake of vaccines. The stars include singer Navin Kundra, producer and presenter Parle Patel and BBC broadcaster Nadia Ali. The video in eight languages (English, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Sylheti) has been produced under the Immunity for the Community initiative. The local stars will share the video on their social media platforms. The uptake of the vaccines on offer has improved significantly over recent weeks among the minorities after initial hesitancy. The new push seeks to do its bit to fill the remaining gaps.

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​UK Health Service Looking for Volunteers: Britain’s National Health Service is calling for new applications for its Volunteer Responders programme to help people through the pandemic. The band of volunteers helps with tasks like grocery and prescriptions collection through an app called GoodSAM. Volunteers already are able to speak with those in need in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu and Punjabi. Britain’s cases are at a low but Britain is not out of the woods yet. And thousands of the particularly vulnerable remain confined to homes without enough family support.​

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first published:April 27, 2021, 20:50 IST