‘Working around the clock’: U.S. pledges medical aid for India to help combat devastating COVID-19 surge

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Relatives mourn near a coffin containing the body of a person who died of COVID-19 in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on April 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

Relatives mourn near a coffin containing the body of a person who died of COVID-19 in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on April 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

 The U.S. is pledging immediate medical aid to India to help combat its surge in coronavirus cases.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke by phone Sunday with his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, and expressed sympathy and support.

According to the White House statement, the U.S. is “working around the clock” to immediately deploy to India drug treatments, rapid diagnostic COVID-19 testing kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment and will seek to provide oxygen supplies as well.

The White House says it had identified sources of raw material urgently needed for India’s manufacture of the Covishield vaccine and will make that available. The U.S. also intends to pay for an expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, so it can ramp up and produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

A team of U.S. public health advisers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID will also be sent to assist Indian officials.

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