EAST Renfrewshire's MP has written to the Prime Minister to ask for more help to be given to India as it struggles to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Kirsten Oswald joined a cross-party group of MPs to contact Boris Johnson about the situation in India, where morgues and crematoriums have been overwhelmed by masses of Covid deaths.

The letter was co-ordinated by Navendu Mishra, secretary of the India All Party Parliamentary Group, of which Ms Oswald is a member, and has been signed by 55 MPs.

India has been experiencing soaring rates of Covid infection, averaging hundreds of thousands of new cases per day.

This is resulting in a shortage of hospital beds, tests, medicines and oxygen, with the Indian Government struggling with its genome sequencing programme to detect new strains of the virus.

The letter was written in response to the UK sending 600 pieces of medical equipment to India, including ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices, and points out that significant and sustained levels of support are needed to help the government there contain and overcome the current crisis.

Ms Oswald told the Barrhead News: “India’s healthcare workers need support from the global community if the country, which is home to over a billion people, is to get control of this virus.

“Without significant help, the infection and mortality rate will continue to rise, putting its medical infrastructure and support services under severe strain.

“It is vital that the UK Government supports efforts to remove the intellectual property barriers that stop India and other countries from manufacturing the vaccines they need to tackle this pandemic."

Ms Oswald also revealed she has close family connections with India and has been "deeply concerned" about the Covid situation there, which she described as "spiralling out of control."

She added: "The pandemic in the UK will only truly be over when the virus is under control in India and other major population centres.”