08:25 GMT20 June 2021
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    Around 40 countries, including Russia, the US, the UK, Singapore, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have rushed in emergency COVID supplies to help India fight the second wave. Several media reports claim that emergency aid from foreign countries had been delayed at airports for at least five days due to a cumbersome bureaucratic process.

    India’s Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on Thursday issued an official statement refuting news reports that oxygen concentrators are collecting dust at the Customs warehouse, waiting to get clearance from the authorities.

    “Indian Customs is swiftly clearing all consignments and no such figures of pendency exist across any port of imports. Indian Customs is sensitive to the need for available COVID-related imports including oxygen and oxygen-related equipment and is working 24x7 to fast track and clear the goods on arrival and lead to expedited clearance within hours,” the CBIC said in a statement.

    As of now, India has received a total of 3,000 oxygen concentrators from Mauritius, Russia, the UK, Romania, Ireland, Thailand, China, Taiwan and Uzbekistan, the CBIC noted in its statement.

    “The oxygen concentrators are either delivered to the identified tertiary care institutions, or have been dispatched for delivery. The relief material has been dispatched through road and air too. There are no oxygen contractors lying in the warehouse of the Customs Department,” CBIC further clarified.

    Despite these arrivals however, Delhi hospitals are falling short of oxygen, some Delhi authority members have noted on social media.

    ​“As far as I know, we have not received anything so far,” Dr. Nutan Mundeja, Director General of Health Services at the Delhi government told the Indian media.

    To tackle the devastating second wave in India, the Supreme Court has shown that it's inclined to favour a complete national lockdown to contain the infection.

    The top court in its order, released on 3 May, also asked the central and state governments to collaborate and create a buffer stock of oxygen to ensure supply lines continue to function even amid unforeseen circumstances while decentralising the location of the emergency stocks.

    India set an alarming new record in its daily COVID numbers on Thursday, recording over 412,000 new cases and 3,980 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the heath ministry. 

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