On Tuesday Apr 27th, senior US officials pledged sustained support for India. This support is to help India deal with the world’s worst current surge of COVID-19 infections. The US officials said India will take some time to overcome the crisis. They warned that the current infection level is still at the “front end” of the crisis.
Kurt Campbell is the White House’s National Security Council coordinator for the Indo-Pacific. Campbell told a virtual event on the US assistance. He said US President Joe Biden had spoken to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a phone call on Monday. Biden told Modi, “You let me know what you need and we will do it,”.
The virtual event Campbell spoke in was organised by the US-India Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Campbell said that Washington was committed to helping the world’s second most populous country get to grips with the crisis.
He said “We all have to realise that this is not a challenge that is going to resolve (in) the next several days.”
Global provider of vaccines
Given India’s vital role as the global provider of vaccines, tackling the crisis is of utmost importance. This is not just for the people of India, but for the United States as well, according to Campbell.
The new epicentre of Covid-19
A second wave of infections has driven India’s death toll up to almost 200,000 recorded deaths. It has now become the epicentre of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Oxygen and hospital bed shortage
The despatch of vital medical supplies to the country of 1.3 billion people started on Tuesday, April 27th. However, COVID-19 patients are still being turned away from hospitals due to lack of life-saving oxygen and beds.
International aid pledges
Urgent medical aid was pledged by the United States and other countries in efforts to try to contain the Indian pandemic.
Gayle Smith is the US State Department’s coordinator for global COVID-19 response. Smith said “We all need to understand that we are still at the front end of this. This hasn’t peaked yet.”
“So this is going to require determination … We’re going to work really hard for some time, but we’re confident we can do it,” she said. “We anticipate that at the height of this kind of complex emergency, it’s going to be very fluid for a while as things fall into place. We are collectively going to have to be very agile and very nimble.”
The agency wants to support both India’s capacity to get the situation under control and the wider region as well. This is because they are concerned about the situation in neighbouring countries of India, according to Jeremy Konyndyk. Konyndyk is the global COVID-19 adviser for USAID.
USAID is the US Agency for International Development. It is the world’s premier international development agency that mainly advances America’s economic prosperity.
The US support will allow India to ramp up the production of the AstraZeneca vaccine, said Konyndyk. Some urgently needed raw materials will be despatched from the US to the Serum Institute of India.
Situation is “beyond heartbreaking”
The World Health Organization said it was working to deliver 4,000 oxygen concentrators, and calls India’s plight “beyond heartbreaking”. Other countries including Britain and Germany have also pledged support.
This morning, the Singapore government despatched two airplanes with a consignment of oxygen cylinders to India. The consignment is on the way to West Bengal.
India to get biggest portion of vaccines shared globally by the US
Earlier on Tuesday, two Indian government sources briefed news agency Reuters on the vaccine situation. They said New Delhi expects to secure the biggest chunk of the 60 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that the United States will share globally.
Vaccine production still on track
Despite the current crisis in India, an agreement between the United States and three of its closest Indo-Pacific partners to produce up to a billion coronavirus vaccine doses in India by the end of 2022 is still on track. The vaccines will be supplied to other Asian countries, according to senior US officials on Monday.
28th April 2021 23:00
This article brought to you by Legacy Times 传城时代