Combating Covid-19: India participates in discussions led by China, US

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 20, 2020

Measures taken in the Indo-Pacific region reviewed; weekly con-call meetings to be held on vaccine development

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla participated in a telephonic conference initiated by US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun on Friday to discuss measures being taken in the Indo-Pacific region to counter Covid-19.

The conference also included senior representatives from Australia, Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Japan.

Senior officials from the Health and External Affairs Ministries were also part of a separate video conference on prevention and control of coronavirus organised by China with more than 10 countries in the Eurasian and South Asian region.

“Foreign Secretary Shringla briefed the participants on the proactive steps taken by India both nationally and in the region under the Prime Minister’s leadership. He conveyed India’s desire to regularly share its perspectives with partners in the region and to work together with others to counter this challenge,” according to a statement issued by the MEA.

The participants agreed to hold a conference call on a weekly basis to discuss ways to increase cooperation on vaccine development, meet the challenges of aiding stranded citizens, providing assistance to countries in need and mitigating the impact on the global economy.

Senior Indian officials and scientists from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the MEA discussed the efforts in combating the epidemic with their Chinese counterparts, tweeted Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong on Friday.

“China stands ready to cooperate with India in fighting the Covid-19 and provide support and assistance within our capacity,” the Chinese Ambassador said.

While the virus is slowly spreading in India with the numbers rising every day, the encouraging development is that China has officially recorded no new cases of Covid-19 in the epicentre Wuhan or in the surrounding Hubei province over the past two days.

There have been no new domestic coronavirus infections for the second consecutive day in Mainland China, and the number of new deaths due to the disease is the lowest in two months, said China’s National Health Commission on Friday.

The death toll from coronavirus has crossed 10,000 world over with the number of the dead in Italy, at 3405, exceeding that of China’s. In India, the official number of those infected with the virus has touched 195 while four people have died.

Published on March 20, 2020

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