Remembering India’s help in hour of need, US determined to do everything for it, says Blinken.
As India continued to reel under a devastating second wave of coronavirus pandemic, President Joe Biden said the US was helping India significantly providing it from Oxygen to vaccine making materials.
“We’re helping India significantly,” he said at a White House briefing on the Covid-19 response recalling his conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I spoke to Prime Minister Modi,” Biden said. “What he needs most is he needs the material and the parts to be able to have his machines that can make the vaccine work.”
“We’re sending them that. We’re sending them oxygen. We’re sending them a lot of the precursors. So, we’re doing a lot for India,” he added.
Meanwhile, recalling India’s help in America’s “real struggles” with Covid last year, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said it was “determined to do everything we can to help” India now.
“India came to our assistance early on in our hour of need when we were having real struggles with Covid-19, providing millions and millions, for example, of protective masks,” he told the Financial Express in an interview.
“We remember that, and we’re determined to do everything we can to help now,” he said according to the interview transcript provided by the State Department.
“What I’ve seen really is an amazing mobilization not just of the United States government, but of our private sector, and of Indian Americans as well.”
“I was on a call a week ago with virtually every leading CEO — it was a who’s who — all wanting to help. And the government, our government, is coordinating those efforts. So we are doing everything we can.”
Giving an update on the US aid to India, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that total assistance is expected to exceed $100 million. Five of six air shipments, funded by USAID, have already arrived in India and more flights are on the way.
These include health supplies: oxygen and oxygen supplies, N95 masks, rapid diagnostic tests, medicine as also “a lot of the components that the Indian government has expressed a vital need for.”
“At the request of the government of India, USAID provided these urgently needed supplies to the Indian Red Cross to ensure they reach those most in need as quickly as possible,” Psaki said.
In terms of oxygen support, USAID delivered approximately 1,500 cylinders that will remain in India and can repeatedly be refilled at local supply centers, with more planeloads to come.
USAID has sent 550 oxygen concentrators to obtain oxygen from ambient air. It has also delivered a large-scale unit to support up to 20 patients each of an oxygen generation unit. US has also sent 2.5 million N95 masks. An additional 12.5 million N95 masks are available if India asks for more.
US has directed its own order of AstraZeneca (Covishield) manufacturing supplies to India, allowing India to make over 20 million doses. It has also provided one million rapid diagnostic tests.
Over the weekend, USAID delivered 20,000 treatment courses of the anti-viral dug [drug] remdesivir to help treat hospitalized patients.
Psaki said CDC experts will also work in close coordination with India’s public health experts in the following areas: laboratory surveillance and epidemiology; emergency response and operations development; bioinformatics for genomic sequencing and modeling.
“We’re working to meet the immediate needs they have now, even as we consider, you know, when we have AstraZeneca doses available, what can happen there,” she said.
With 382,315 new cases reported Wednesday, 14th straight day of 300,000 plus cases, India accounted for nearly half (46%) of the Covid-19 cases reported worldwide last week, according to the World Health Organization.
India’s total case load reached a staggering 20.74 million, second only to the United States with 32.5 million. India also accounted for 25% of global deaths reported in the past week with a record 3,780 during the last 24 hours.
India’s second deadly surge has seen hospitals run out of beds and oxygen and left morgues and crematoriums overflowing.
Vinod Khosla offers to help Indian hospitals with import of oxygen (April 24, 2021)
Covid tsunami hits India with record 332,000 daily cases (April 23, 2021)
Don’t let the ‘America First’ derail India-U.S. ties (April 24, 202)
US may curb Air India evacuation flights from July 22 (June 23, 2020)
Air India announces more US-India flights from June 11 (June 8, 2020)