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Against COVID-19, US, UAE, Saudi Arabia step forward to help India

COVID-19

The US, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia close allies of India, have pledged their support for India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with Washington requesting that oxygen generators, concentrators, Remdesivir antiviral medication, and vaccine raw materials be airlifted in the next 48 hours. The United Arab Emirates is sending a large shipment of oxygen concentrators to India, while Saudi Arabia is sending a large shipment of oxygen generators.

While both Indian and US interlocutors criticised the US spokesperson’s earlier remarks on raw material supply as insensitive, Washington’s decision to help India’s battle against the raging pandemic came after a thorough conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan on Sunday night.

On Sullivan’s conversation with Doval, NSC spokesperson Emily Horne released a statement that “The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India.” 

The US is also working around the clock to deploy available resources and equipment, according to the release.

Both Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar have been talking to the US and other Indian allies including the UAE and Saudi Arabia on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s orders. Though Doval was in contact with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Jaishankar was in contact with the European Union, specifically France, for assistance with oxygen concentrators, Remdesivir, and raw materials for producing vape juice.

Official sources said that the UAE is sending a large shipment of oxygen concentrators to India, while Saudi Arabia is sending oxygen generators with the hope of more aid. The US, on the other hand, has provided full support and will be sending shipments from its bases in the Indo-Pacific. “The India-US ties remain as close as ever,” a senior official said.

The White House went on to say in a statement about Doval and Sullivan’s talk, which further read, “To help treat Covid-19 patients and protect front-line health workers in India, the United States has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India. The United States also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis.”

The US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is also financing a significant expansion of manufacturing capacity for BioE, an Indian vaccine manufacturer, allowing BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

They further said, “Additionally, the United States is deploying an expert team of public health advisors from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and USAID to work in close collaboration with the US Embassy, India’s health ministries, and India’s Epidemic Intelligence Service staff.”

“Fast-track the mobilization of emergency services available to India through the Global Fund,” according to USAID and the CDC. On Twitter, the US Vice-President reaffirmed her country’s support for India in the fight against the pandemic.

On Sunday, India announced 349,691 new cases of the disease, setting a new world record for the largest single-day increase in cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 16,960,162. India reported more than 300,000 cases in 24 hours for the fourth day in a row. On the same day, 2,767 people died from infection-related diseases, bringing the total death toll to 192,311.
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