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Vic ventilators never made it to India

The Victorian government’s promise to donate 1000 ventilators to COVID-ravaged India was never fulfilled.

In early May, then-acting premier James Merlino announced Victoria would send the ventilators to India as part of a $41 million package which also included supporting equipment such as connectors and humidifiers.

“The situation in India right now is nothing short of devastating. We simply cannot sit by and do nothing. We must step up and provide real, tangible support,” Mr Merlino wrote in a still live tweet.

“That’s why we’re sending 1000 ICU ventilators to support Indian doctors, nurses and medical staff.”

Under questioning from Liberal Democrat MP David Limbrick in a public accounts and estimates committee hearing, health officials did not know whether the pledge had been followed through.

“I’m not sure,” Department of Health secretary Euan Wallace said on Monday.

Deputy secretary Jodie Geissler confirmed there were more than 4000 ventilators in the state’s stockpile and would seek to confirm details on the Indian ventilator pledge.

It’s understood the Indian government advised that the donation of medical equipment was no longer required in June.

Victoria’s donation was first sought to be made through the commonwealth’s donation of supplies to the Delta-hit country, but the federal government was unable to help with suitable shipping for the ventilators.

While suitable arrangements were being pursued, the Indian government advised they were not needed.

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