Washington, Apr 23 (PTI) The US is working closely with India, at both political and expert level, to identify ways to help address the current COVID-19 crisis in the country, the White House said on Friday.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, at the daily news conference, said that the US offers its deepest sympathy to the people of India who are clearly suffering during this global pandemic.
'We are working closely with Indian officials at both political and experts’ level to identify ways to help address the crisis,” Psaki said.
“We've made vaccine cooperation a big priority, including with our Quad partners. India is one of our Quad partners, of course, in discussing vaccine creation and distribution for the future. We've also provided for a billion dollars to COVAX,” she said in response to a question.
'From the earliest stages of the pandemic, we've provided India with emergency relief supplies, medical consumables, pandemic training for Indian state and local health officials, and ventilators, which has been part of our effort over the course of time, including USD 1.4 billion in health assistance to India to help them prepare for pandemics in the future and deal with the current one we're facing,” Psaki said.
Responding to a question, Psaki said there are ongoing discussions. “I don't have anything more to preview, but we are in touch with them at a range of levels about how we can help them get through this period of time,” Psaki said.
At a separate news conference, Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said that India is going through a very terrible situation right now. “They've had yesterday the largest number of cases that has ever been reported by any country. They have a situation there where there are variants that have arisen. We have not yet fully characterised the variants and the relationship between the ability of the vaccines to protect but we're assuming clearly, that they need vaccines,” he said.
“The CDC is helping out by consulting with them as they have in other countries in which there are situations and giving technical assistance. But it is a dire situation that we're trying to help in any way we can we just have to see how things go. And obviously, they need to get their people vaccinated because that's the only way we're going to turn that around,” Dr Fauci said.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said that the US has a longstanding commitment to India's public health and is working closely with them in the COVID-19 response.
“This is a global pandemic and India demonstrates the risk of what can happen if we don't get the pandemic under control everywhere. It’s why we made the biggest investment in COVAX and we are committed to sharing vaccine supply as our confidence around our supply increases, we will explore those options,” Zients said.
India added a record over 3.32 lakh new coronavirus cases in a single day taking the country's tally to 1,62,63,695, while active cases crossed the 24-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.
The death toll increased to 1,86,920 with a record 2,263 new fatalities. The country recorded a single day rise of 3,32,730 new cases, the data updated at 8 am showed. PTI LKJ RS RS