New York, May 15: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced plans to tap into the city's stockpile to send COVID-19 test kits, swabs, ventilators, pulse oximeters and other vital medical supplies to India to save lives and beat back the pandemic.
His announcement on Friday came as India recorded 3,26,098 fresh COVID-19 cases that took the national tally to 2,43,72,907, while 3,890 new fatalities pushed the death toll to 2,66,207.
In a statement posted on the official website of the City of New York, de Blasio said that just over a year ago, New York City was the center of the global pandemic.
"Now it is our turn to step up and help India in its moment of crisis. We are sending vital medical equipment to India to send a clear message: nobody is in the fight against COVID-19 alone. Together, we can save lives and beat back the pandemic," the mayor said.
Kapil Longani, Counsel to the Mayor said: "As a proud Indian immigrant with generations of family currently living in India, it breaks my heart to see the ongoing COVID-19 tragedy unfold".
"The Mayor is a leading citizen of the world, and on behalf of the Indian community, I offer my deepest gratitude for his decision to commit life-saving resources to India".
"This pandemic highlighted our interconnectedness as a global community, and it's imperative that we stand together in solidarity to defeat this virus," he said.
Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog said as a global city that was once considered the "epicenter" of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be unacceptable for New York City to ignore the devastating situation in India.
"This horrible pandemic has taken too many lives, and we cannot stand idle as it continues to wreak havoc in another city. I stand with my colleagues in the City government to make sure we provide any and all support possible to our fellow citizens in India," Hartzog said.
When the COVID-19 struck the US Last year, New York City became an epicentre, prompting authorities to shut it in mid-March as the coronavirus ravaged the metropolis.
Democratic lawmaker Grace Meng, representative of New York's 6th Congressional district in New York City, said: "India is our dear friend and ally and we must continue to be there for its people in their urgent time of need. I thank Mayor de Blasio for sending this critical aid, and ask all New Yorkers to keep India in their thoughts and prayers as the country battles the surge in COVID-19 cases."
Indian-origin Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar said: "As the first Indian-American woman elected to state office in New York, I stand in solidarity with the people of India at their time of need".
"The largest Indian-American population in the Western Hemisphere is here in New York City. It was the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, 'Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,' and that has never been more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic".
"If there is a COVID crisis in India, then New Yorkers are in crisis. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Chokshi for recognizing that we are all in this pandemic together and for sending supplies to the people of India so they can fight this deadly virus," she said.
Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York said: "We greatly appreciate the generous gift by New York City to the Government of India. The ventilators, bipaps (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) and testing kits which have been donated by New York will be immensely useful in fighting the pandemic in India.
"The supplies being sent will further add to the robust assistance provided by the US government to India. The empathy shown by this great City is admirable".
New York's thousands of Indian-Americans are filled with anger and helplessness as they witness the unnecessary tragedy back in the country, said Harpreet Singh Toor, Co-Founder and President of South Asians for Global Empowerment.
"Especially when our own situation has become so full of hope, it is the right time to join Mayor Bill de Blasio in calling for a full-scale effort to donate vaccines, COVID-19 test kits, swabs, ventilators, pulse oximeters, and every other type of relief possible to India," he said.
According to Johns Hopkins University, New York has so far reported 2,081,823 cases and 52,903 fatalities.
India has been severely affected by the unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus and hospitals in several states are reeling under the shortage of health workers, vaccines, oxygen, drugs and beds. - PTI