IMF welcomes Indian govt’s measures to fight COVID-19

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Washington, Jun 10 (PTI) The IMF on Thursday welcomed a recent announcement by the Indian government to facilitate access to vaccination and ramp up the production of essential medicines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the central government will provide free coronavirus vaccine to states for inoculation of all above the age of 18 from June 21, and asserted that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in the country in coming days to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The International Monetary Fund welcomes the Indian government's announcement to facilitate access to vaccinations and to provide additional support to minimise the social costs of the pandemic and to relieve the very human costs of the pandemic. We strongly welcome the government's announcement on that point,” IMF’s Spokesperson Gerry Rice told reporters during his fortnightly news conference.

Rice said the second wave and associated containment measures suggest a sharp fall in India’s economic activity.

The IMF will be revising India's growth forecast in its next World Economic Outlook update, scheduled to be released next month.

“India, of course, is an economy that's important to the global economy, due to its large share in global and regional GDP. And therefore, India's growth and economic outlook have broader implications with spill overs working primarily through trade linkages and global supply chains which are particularly strong with South Asia and that region,” Rice said.

“More to come when we will be publishing updated forecasts for India in the context of the World Economic Outlook,” he said.

India reported 94,052 new COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to 2,91,83,121, while the death toll climbed to 3,59,676 with 6,148 fatalities being recorded in a day, the highest since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Thursday.

In his address to the nation, Prime Minister Modi highlighted that the country succeeded in making two made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines in a short time and over 23 crore doses have already been administered.

Asserting that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in the coming days, he said the central government has now decided to buy 75 per cent of jabs from vaccine makers for free supply to states, while private sector hospitals will continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines but they cannot charge more than Rs 150 per dose over the pre-fixed price.

Efforts were being made on a war-footing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at various levels and production of essential medicines was ramped up, Modi said, adding that India was fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple fronts and new health infrastructure has been created across the country. PTI LKJ MRJ AKJ MRJ