Washington: The United States is deeply concerned about a massive increase in the number of coronavirus cases in India and will provide additional support to the Indian government and health workers, a White House spokeswoman said on Saturday (April 24).
“We are in active conversations at high levels and plan to quickly deploy additional support to the Indian government and Indian healthcare workers as they tackle this latest serious outbreak. We will have more to share very soon,” he said. the spokeswoman told Reuters by email.
Washington is under increasing pressure to do more to help India, the world’s largest democracy, and strategically in President Joe Biden’s efforts to counter China, as it grapples with a record increase in coronavirus infections.
On Friday, April 23, the United States Chamber of Commerce called on the Biden administration to release millions of stored doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for shipment to India, Brazil and other hard-hit countries.
The Indian government has deployed military planes and trains to urgently bring needed oxygen to Delhi from other parts of the country and from foreign countries, including Singapore.
The number of cases across the country jumped from a record daily increase of 349,691 on Sunday, for a total of 16.96 million cases, including 192,311 deaths, the health ministry said.
The country of 1.3 billion people is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, warned in an op-ed published on Saturday (April 24) in the Washington Post.
He said some 2,000 people die each day, but most experts estimated the actual number to be five to ten times that level.
Officials in both countries are engaged at various levels to ensure a steady supply of inputs and components to U.S. companies for the production of COVID-19 vaccines in India, a spokesperson for the Indian Embassy in Washington told Reuters.
He said it was important to work together to identify ways to overcome bottlenecks in medical supply chains and accelerate ongoing vaccination efforts.
Jha called on Washington to send high-quality oxygen, excess test kits and personal protective equipment, including face masks, and drugs to India to treat COVID-19 patients, including sedatives and Remdesivir.
Jha also urged the Biden administration to share surplus vaccines with India and other countries in crisis, citing some 30 million unused doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which is in use elsewhere but has not been cleared by US regulators. .
Washington is also expected to lift export controls on raw materials put in place through the Defense Production Act and an associated export embargo in February, Jha wrote.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that U.S. and Indian officials were working to find ways to help deal with the crisis, but gave no timeline for the support.
She said the United States had already provided India with some $ 1.4 billion in health aid, emergency relief supplies, pandemic training for health officials. Indian state and premises, and fans.