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UNICEF chief urges the world to help India ‘now’ as Covid cases soar

The executive director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, has told CNBC that it  is “very worried” about the current Covid-19 crisis in India and urged the world to send urgent help to the country.

Speaking during World Immunization Week, Fore also said it was a “race to save lives” through vaccinations, particularly in some of the world’s poorest countries with “very fragile” health systems. 

India is in the midst of a deadly second wave of the virus. On Saturday, daily coronavirus cases in the country passed 400,000 for first time; total cases in India have now topped 19 million, and more than 215,000 people have died from Covid in the country.

“It is worrying for several reasons. One, is it a precursor to what might happen in other countries, particularly countries in Africa, with much weaker healthcare systems?” Fore said last week.

“It’s worrying because their health care system has been overwhelmed. It is the need for oxygen and therapeutics that we just have not seen in this pandemic in another country at this scale.”

People wearing protective face masks wait to receive a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a vaccination centre in Mumbai, India, April 26, 2021.

Niharika Kulkarni | Reuters

Fore said both UNICEF and the COVAX global vaccine program had sent help to the country, and aid from other nations was making a big difference. “But it’s not enough because India is part of our supply chain. So, it is both where we source many of the vaccines, it’s also where we need to give help as a world to India now,” she added.

UNICEF is the United Nations agency responsible for providing aid to children across the world.

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