Hong Kong based Indians pitch in to help embattled country

Members of the Indian community in Hong Kong have launched a HK$3 million fundraising campaign to buy oxygen concentrators and medical supplies as the South Asian country battles the worst Covid-19 situation in the world.

There are at least 24 million cases in India, with hundreds of thousands of deaths.

The campaign in Hong Kong, organized by Mohan Chugani, a former president of the India Association, and the Sikh Temple in Wan Chai, had one of its largest donations yesterday – HK$200,000 from Lu’s Foundation.

Chugani said he is awaiting approval for street fundraising events in places such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Wan Chai.

And he appealed to big companies to donate generously to help save lives.

Chugani said the price of oxygen concentrators – vital for sustaining lives as patients struggle to breathe – has increased during the pandemic. Models from the mainland each cost from HK$3,000 to HK$10,000.

He also hoped Beijing could set a price ceiling for concentrators and for the Indian consulate in Hong Kong to provide more information on the types that fit the country’s requirements.

India reported a smaller rise in daily infections for a third straight day yesterday as government officials said they were working to boost vaccine supplies to hold down the death count, which had gone beyond 270,000.

It also recorded 311,170 new infections, representing the lowest single-day rise in more than three weeks.

Although India is the world’s largest vaccine-producing nation, it has managed to inoculate only 2.9 percent of its population of 1.35 billion, or just over 40.4 million people, health ministry data shows.

The supply of vaccine doses should rise to 516 million by July and more than two billion from August to December boosted by domestic production and imports, health minister Harsh Vardhan said.

But the average daily vaccination rate over seven days had by yesterday fallen to 1.7 million from 1.8 million a week ago after Maharashtra, the richest state, and Karnataka in the south put vaccinations on hold for adults younger than 45.

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