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Stay safe, you’re Better Connected

An important message from Lakbir Singh, Head of Group Operations at Planet Education and Head of Special Projects at the India Business Group (IBG), and Ambassador for Hampshire Chamber of Commerce South Asian Community Engagement.

Coronavirus Pandemic India 2021: Humanitarian Crisis

India’s second COVID-19 wave has been explosive, pushing global infection rates to record levels.

Daily cases are the highest on record for any country at any point during the pandemic. There are currently around 400,000 official new daily cases, with the actual number likely to be much higher.

With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, the healthcare system has been overwhelmed, with queues of ambulances parked outside full hospitals, oxygen and drug shortages in multiple states, cities, districts, villages, and life-saving non-COVID services interrupted. Rapidly scaling up oxygen capacity is the priority of the hour. The poorest migrant workers and others who are unable to work, travel, or afford food and healthcare are suffering the most. Hospitals in all major cities are at breaking point, but sadly the situation in rural India, where the majority of people live, is even worse.

The UK was one of the first countries to send urgent medical equipment in the form of ventilators, oxygen concentrators and three 18-tonne oxygen generation units to help combat the world’s worse surge in Covid levels. UK airlines are also freeing up cargo space for further medical supplies on several scheduled flights in the coming days.

Having liaised personally with family, friends, colleagues and partners in India, the biggest difference we can make right now is to get as many oxygen concentrators to hospitals as quickly as possible.

Oxygen concentrators are alternate devices to oxygen cylinders – while cylinders contain a finite amount of oxygen supply, a concentrator continually recycles oxygen from the air and delivers it to the patient.

It is during such testing times that we are reminded of the power of unity in people and how by genuinely working together, we can overcome the most acute challenges. Alongside the UK Government support, it has been heartening to see so many UK businesses, civil society, communities, and the wider public come together to help address urgent shortages in India.

For example, in my home county of Hampshire, the University of Southampton’s India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development, in collaboration with the India Business Group, has partnered with the British Asian Trust to raise awareness of the devastating situation in India and to raise funds to support the British Asian Trust’s Oxygen for India Emergency Appeal:

Backed by the Prince of Wales, the British Asian Trust’s Oxygen for India Emergency Appeal has already raised a phenomenal amount of more than £1.8 million, which is being used to provide oxygen concentrators to Indian hospitals and patients that need them the most. If you are able to help, please consider donating to one of the several UK charities that are fundraising to support the people of India at this immensely challenging time.

As we have witnessed throughout this pandemic, the UK and India continue to work together as a force for good in the world. Global collaboration is vital to defeat COVID-19 and the ongoing situation in India should serve as a harrowing reminder that “no one is safe until everyone is safe”.

Lakbir Singh is Head of Group Operations at Planet Education and Head of Special Projects at the India Business Group (IBG).

Stay Safe with Hampshire Chamber

Please watch the short video clips on this page, delivered by our President, David Joel, giving useful updates on COVID-19 and various relevant topics.

During these difficult times, the team at Hampshire Chamber remain in full operation to ensure the best advice and support is delivered to all members.

They are more than happy to discuss ways to help maximise membership and ensure you don’t miss out on the marketing and promotional opportunities that are still available within this period, from our Business News magazine and eNewsletters, to Social Media, eNetworking/eTraining and much more.

If you have any queries, please contact 01329 242420 (Option 1) or email We hope you stay safe, and remember, you’re Better Connected.

COVID-19 Update: Emerging from the Crisis

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