India and the US have pledged to work closely bilaterally and address challenges faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic

As India grapples with COVID-19 triggered catastrophe, the international community has responded to the country’s moment of crisis by supplying oxygen plants, concentrators and medical equipment.

Late evening on Friday, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra had an interaction with his Indian counterpart Dr Harsh Vardhan through digital medium and reviewed the coronavirus-related situation.

Both India and the US have pledged to work closely bilaterally and address challenges thrown by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Together we shall take this partnership forward especially during this pandemic when globally the healthcare and related system is facing stress and trying to mitigate challenges with co-operation at local, regional, national and international levels,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

Secretary Becerra recounted the crisis in his country brought about by COVID-19 and expressed his empathy towards the suffering of Indians. He also assured of President Biden’s unwavering commitment to engage, collaborate and fight COVID-19 together.

Both countries have developed a strong collaboration in the area of public health which extends to build and enhance co-operation and support in the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Harsh Vardhan maintained.

The Union Health Minister also observed, “It is highly appreciable to learn that the statements of solidarity between us are quickly manifesting as practical forms of support to enhance healthcare support and fight the pandemic. We are thankful and highly appreciate the support of the United States of America for medical supply.”

Detailing India’s pro-active, pre-emptive, graded approach to COVID-19 under the National Task Force, comprised of eminent public health experts, The Minister also briefed his counterpart on India’s Response to COVID-19.

“We have been augmenting Testing Infrastructure consistently with approximately 2500 testing facilities for COVID virus now as compared to just a single laboratory in January, 2020; We have witnessed an increase of 151 times in isolation beds and 35 times in ICU beds; Oxygen plants are being established at identified hospitals across India to ensure steady supply of medical oxygen. Further Oxygen production has been ramped up to meet the demand; A unique digital platform - CoWIN 2.0 has been designed that supports the vaccination drive in India.” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

The two countries’ meeting was participated by Lav Agarwal, Jt. Secretary (International Health Cooperation), India, Dr. Rochelle Paula Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, USA, Dr. Loyce Pace, Executive Director of the Global Health Council and Member, President Joe Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board, USA, Sarah Desperes, Counsellor to the Health Secretary, USA, Dr. Preetha Rajaraman, U.S. Health Attaché for India were also present at the meeting.