ISLAMABAD: As India reported the world’s highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for the second day on Friday, surpassing 330,000 new cases amid a nationwide shortage of oxygen supplies, across the border in Pakistan, people took to Twitter in solidarity, with #IndiaNeedsOxyge becoming a top trend.
Deaths in India the past 24 hours jumped to a record 2,263, the health ministry said, while officials across northern and western India, including the capital, New Delhi, warned that most health facilities were full and running out of oxygen. TV channels showed footage of people with empty oxygen cylinders lining up outside refilling facilities, hoping to save relatives in critical care in hospital. People also turned to Twitter to crowdsource help for oxygen cylinders, hospital beds and other requirements.
China said it was willing to help India, although it was not immediately clear what this might comprise.
In neighboring Pakistan, perhaps India’s staunchest rival, social media users came together in solidarity and called for the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to help.
“Thoughts and prayers are with #India — heart wrenching stories and visuals,” said journalist and policy analyst Raza Rumi. “Hope the situation improves soonest. I am not sure what #Pakistan can do given the rising #covid cases but whatever is possible should be offered sans politics.”
Thoughts and prayers are with #India - heart wrenching stories and visuals. Hope the situation improves soonest. I am not sure what #Pakistan can do given the rising #covid cases but whatever is possible should be offered sans politics. #indianeedoxygen #IndiaNeedsVaccine
— Raza Ahmad Rumi (@Razarumi) April 23, 2021
Ajmal Jami, a special correspondent and talk show host at top TV channel Dunya News, tweeted in Hindi, sending blessings from Pakistan and saying what was unfolding in India was a “sorrow for humanity.”
तेजी से फैलते कोरोना की वजह से भारत में ऑक्सीजन की कमी है, आपसी मेल जोल जैसा भी हो पर यह मानवता का दुख है, इस मुसीबत में इस तरफ से भारत वासियों के लिए दुआ सलामती और खैर का संदेश है।
— Ajmal Jami (@ajmaljami) April 22, 2021
Former BBC journalist and Pakistani talk show host Adil Shahzeb appealed to the government to extend help:
"The PM @ImranKhanPTI should extend whatever support we can afford at this time as a neighbouring country."
Brilliant! Don’t know if Pakistan can do much due to our own situation but The PM @ImranKhanPTI should extend whatever support we can afford at this time as a neighbouring country @fawadchaudhry
#IndiaNeedsOxygen #IndianLivesMatter #IndiaNeedsHELP #IndiaFightsCorona #Pakistan https://t.co/5zU3AOoYNh
— Adil Shahzeb (@adilshahzeb) April 23, 2021
Social media user Seema Q Raja called on Prime Minister Imran Khan “to help our neighbors in their time of need.”
Dear PM @ImranKhanPTI can we help our neighbors in their time of need?
— Seeme Q Raja (Pebi) (@SeemeGRaja74) April 22, 2021
Digital rights activist Usama Khilji said he joined thousands of Pakistani citizens in calling on the Pakistan government to help India with oxygen supplies.
“Heartening to see #IndiaNeedsOxygen #IndianLivesMatter trend at top in Pakistan. Shows that people have hearts in the right place.”
— Usama Khilji (@UsamaKhilji) April 22, 2021
Vlogger Daniyal Sheikh wrote that India and Pakistan had “spent billions of dollars in weapons and atom bombs but sadly we didn’t invest much in health care, infrastructure and education.”
“It’s time to set priorities and make peace. #CovidIndia #IndiaNeedsOxygen #PakistanstandswithIndia.”
India and Pakistan has spent billions of dollars in weapons and atom bombs but sadly we didn’t invest much in healthcare, infrastructure and education. It’s time to set priorities and make peace. #CovidIndia #IndiaNeedsOxygen #PakistanstandswithIndia
— DANIYAL SHEIKH (@idaniyalsheikh) April 23, 2021
In another tweet he wrote: “We should pray for India and support them in this hard time. We are in this together.”
— DANIYAL SHEIKH (@idaniyalsheikh) April 22, 2021
Pakistani journalist Wajahat Kazmi wrote:
“The situation in India is heart-wrenching. May everyone heal and stay safe from COVID. Prayers for India.”
— Wajahat Kazmi (@KazmiWajahat) April 22, 2021
Journalist Wasem Abbasi said it was “good to see messages of solidarity” pouring in from Pakistan for India:
— Waseem Abbasi (@Wabbasi007) April 23, 2021