Will Work Round the Clock to Help India in Its Battle Against Covid-19 Surge: US Ambassador to UN

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The US will work around the clock to help India as it battles a devastating surge in Covid-19 cases and Washington is doing everything it can to help, including deploying raw materials for vaccines, ventilators, oxygen generation supplies and financial support for vaccine expansion, the US Ambassador to the UN said on Monday. “I want to take a moment to talk about the heartbreaking situation in India. The most recent spike of COVID-19 cases there has been devastating. The United States stands in solidarity with the people of India,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said during a closed virtual dialogue hosted by the United States, Argentina, Japan, Norway, and South Africa on Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

She said the US is doing everything it can to help, including deploying raw materials for vaccines, as well as therapeutics, rapid diagnostic kits, ventilators, oxygen generation supplies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USAID public health teams, and financial support for vaccine expansion. “We will work around the clock to help our ally and alleviate the suffering. And we implore others to do so as well,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield noted that as India so unfortunately demonstrates, it is hard to overstate the impact COVID-19 has had on the world. Over 142 million people have gotten infected from COVID-19 and over three million people have died.

And, as we all know, the impacts were not limited to the illness itself. We’ve learned the hard way that global health isn’t just about viruses and disease. It touches every aspect of life itself. Economies have suffered. Gender-based violence has spiked. Kids have been forced to stay home from school, and millions including an estimated 11 million girls according to UNESCO may not return, she said. Thomas-Greenfield underlined that the takeaway from this past year is clear: the world barely withstood this pandemic. We must be ready for the next. We cannot continue to under-invest after outbreaks, epidemics, and now a pandemic in our capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.

India is witnessing a devastating wave of Covid-19 as it registers more than three lakh cases every day and over 2,000 deaths over the past few days. US President Joe Biden had tweeted Sunday that Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval about the spike in COVID-19 cases in India and we agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days. The United States stands in solidarity with the people of India and we are deploying more supplies and resources, he said. US Defence Secretary Austin Lloyd has also directed the Pentagon to provide all necessary support to Indian healthcare workers battling the worsening coronavirus situation in the country.

Moreover, an influential Indian-American Democratic lawmaker has welcomed the US government’s decision to provide material and healthcare help to India in its fight against a spike in Covid-19 cases, but said this is “no time for symbolism” or “lip service” and the Biden administration must act now.

“The Biden administration’s commitment that it will export raw materials for the Indian manufacturer of the Covishield vaccine is a welcome decision,” Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said. However, this is no time for symbolism, half-measures or lip service. We must act now, he asserted.

Meanwhile, a day after the UK announced assistance to India in fighting the coronavirus crisis, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his British counterpart Dominic Raab and discussed bilateral cooperation in addressing different aspects of the pandemic. Jaishankar said he and Foreign Secretary Raab also reviewed progress in the India-UK bilateral agenda.

The UK on Sunday announced that more than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment are being sent to India to support the country in its fight against COVID-19. “Thank Foreign Secretary @DominicRaab of UK for the call today. Discussed our cooperation to address different aspects of the COVID challenge. Also reviewed progress in our bilateral agenda,” Jaishankar tweeted.

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