Russia awaits U.S. ventilator aid as coronavirus cases near 300,000

Published May 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Reuters

The United States said on Tuesday it would this week start delivering 200 medical ventilators to Russia, which has the world’s second highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

Russia reported 9,263 new infections on Tuesday, pushing its nationwide total to 299,941, and 115 more deaths, taking the total death toll to 2,837. Only the United States has reported more coronavirus cases.

It was the fourth successive day that the number of new cases was below 10,000. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Monday Russia had halted the growth in infections and that there were other positive signs.

Mishustin, one of four government ministers to catch the coronavirus, has been discharged from a clinic and is now working normally, the Interfax news agency quoted his spokesman as saying on Tuesday.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow said Russian President Vladimir Putin had requested assistance from the United States and that U.S. President Donald Trump had offered to send 200 U.S.-made ventilators.

The presidents spoke by telephone on May 7.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the United States planned to deliver the machines in two planes and that Washington would cover all the costs.

“I hope they (the ventilators) help us overcome the current situation,” Lavrov told a news conference by video link.

A first batch of 50 ventilators should be ready for shipment on Wednesday, while the remaining 150 will be ready shortly after, the embassy said in a statement.

Russia sent a batch of its own ventilators to the United States in early April, but U.S. officials say they were not needed in the end.

The Russian ventilator in question, the Aventa-M, came into the spotlight last week after it was reported to have caused fires in hospital in Moscow and St Petersburg.

That prompted Russia to suspend the use of Aventa-M ventilators produced after April 1.