From China face off to the fight against COVID-19, how the IAF is doing India proud
New Delhi, May 05: The Indian Air Force has been kept busy over the past couple of months. After playing a crucial role in transporting soldiers and equipment to eastern Ladakh where India is locked in a stand-off with China, the IAF has now been deployed for COVID-19 relief.
The IAF has been lifting relief material from various countries and delivering them to domestic locations as India continues to battle a horrific second wave of COVID-19.
Nearly 35 tonnes of equipment, including 450 empty oxygen cylinders donated by the UK and airlifted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Britain arrived here early on Tuesday. According to the Indian Red Cross Society, UK donated 5,000 cylinders to India through it to meet the emergency requirement for empty oxygen cylinders during the second wave of coronavirus in the country. Of these, 900 cylinders were meant for Tamil Nadu.
The equipment were brought from Brize Norton, by one of two IAF C-17 Globemaster aircraft that earlier left for the UK on May 2 from its Jamnagar air base in Gujarat to bring the supplies, a Defence release said. "The aircraft which left the Jamnagar air base on May 2, flew non-stop for 11 hours and 30 minutes to reach Brize Norton in the UK to airlift the critical life support equipment."
"The first aircraft landed at 0200 local time and with a quick turnaround, flew back to Chennai with 35 tonnes of equipment including 450 empty oxygen cylinders for India," it said, adding, the flight reached the city around 5 am on Tuesday. An IRCS official, who received the oxygen cylinders, said 900 of them were meant for Tamil Nadu. "We received the first batch of 450 cylinders this morning and the second consignment will be delivered (later) today," M Karnan, Manager, Administration, IRCS, Tamil Nadu state branch, told PTI. Karnan received the cylinders on behalf of IRCS and handed over them to HLL Lifecare Ltd which would distribute to hospitals in consultation with the state health department.
The IAF has also said that it will establish a 100-bed COVID care treatment facility at its Air Force Station here. In a series of tweets, the IAF said the 20 beds would be ready by May 6.
"Indian Air Force decides to establish a 100 bedded Covid care treatment facility at Air Force Station Jalahalli, Bengaluru for the general public. First 20 beds will be operational on 06 May 21 with oxygen concentrators. Remaining 80 beds are expected to be operational by May 20," the IAF said.
According to the IAF, the 100 bed Covid care facility will be manned by specialists, doctors, nurses and paramedical staff provided by the Bengaluru Command Hospital Air Force. Admission to the facility will be coordinated by civic agency and the state government through a nodal officer, it said.
Of the total 100 beds, there will be 10 ICU beds and 40 with piped oxygen. The remaining 50 will have oxygen concentrators.
The IAF said the state government has assured the necessary support for pharmacy, oxygen and security. The situation in Karnataka is grim which reported over 44,438 cases and 239 deaths on Monday taking the total infections and fatalities to 1646303 and 16,250.
Bengaluru is worst hit with over 20,000 caseloads daily and over 100 deaths. There are over three lakh active cases in the city.