SWINDON'S Hindu temple has joined an international effort to supply medical equipment and other support to hospitals and citizens in India following a spike in coronavirus deaths.

Millions of new Covid-19 cases and thousands of new deaths are being recorded every day, putting immense pressure on hospitals which are in desperate need of beds and oxygen canisters.

Pradeep Bhardwaj set up support groups in Swindon, worked with the High Commission of India (HCI) to ship equipment overseas and has backed a non-profit organisation of medical professionals known as BAPIO.

He said: "The second wave of the pandemic is causing unprecedented havoc and catastrophe right across India. Every day, records are being broken for people hospitalised or killed by the virus.

"I know 10 friends who have struggled to find hospital beds, then when they find one there is no oxygen left in the hospital, so they need to get help from others.

"People of Indian origin living in Swindon are very worried about their friends and family back home because they can see that lives are at risk.

"I call my parents twice a day and tell them to stay inside because it's not safe to go out. BAPIO helps supply food to people shielding so we are supporting them, they are best placed to help.

"The 'Covid Assistance In India' groups we set up are about sharing information about equipment availability and preparing contacts in India to point people who need help or advice in the right direction.

"We are sending some equipment with help from the HCI, we want to do everything we can to save lives."

Mr Bhardwaj explained that the groups he helped organise have members in Swindon, Germany, France, and the USA, all trying to find ways to help those in need.

He added: "It was heartening to see that the UK was the first country to provide critical equipment, it shows compassion and leadership. Our destinies and futures are intertwined."

The British Physicians of Indian Origin are supplying food to shielding elderly and vulnerable residents in India in collaboration with the Akshaya Patra UK charity, arranging to transport medical equipment to hospitals, and offering medical help over the phone by providing clinical triage and reporting of radiology and pathology investigations.

India is seeing around 400,000 new coronavirus cases confirmed every day, with 19 million people infected so far and more than 215,000 fatalities.

For more information, contact Pradeep Bhardwaj on 07725 582624 or email Swindonhindutemple@gmail.com

To donate directly to BAPIO, visit www.gofundme.com/f/xrmh8c-bapio-india-covid-fund