‘Nothing short of heartbreaking’: Kamala Harris says US determined to help India in its hour of need
- US vice president Kamala Harris noted that the Biden administration took action as soon as the dire nature of the situation in India became apparent.
US vice president Kamala Harris on Friday said that the surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in India is “nothing short of heartbreaking”. Speaking at an online event organised by the US state department, Harris delivered a message of solidarity with the people of India and sent condolences to those who have lost their loved ones to the pandemic. She noted that President Joe Biden’s administration took action as soon as the dire nature of the situation in India became apparent.
“On Monday, April 26th, President Joe Biden spoke with the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) to offer our support. By Friday, April 30, military members of the United States and civilians were delivering relief on the ground,” Harris said at the event 'Bolstering US Covid Relief Efforts in India: Perspectives from the Diaspora'.
“Already, we have delivered refillable oxygen cylinders, with more to come. We've delivered oxygen concentrators, with more to come. We have delivered N95 masks, and have more ready to send. We have delivered doses of Remdesivir to treat Covid patients,” she added.
India is witnessing an unprecedented public health crisis as the second wave of Covid-19 overwhelmed health infrastructure. Several countries, including the United States, have extended help after the shortage of oxygen and critical medical supplies made the situation in India dire. Last week, the first consignment of Covid-19 assistance arrived from the United States, which included 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators and 960,000 rapid diagnostic tests.
“Meanwhile we have announced our full support for suspending patents on Covid-19 vaccines to help India and other nations vaccinate their people more quickly,” said Harris, highlighting the recent decision of the US to back India’s proposal at the World Trade Organisation to waive patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines.
The United States remains the worst-hit nation in terms of Covid-19 cases, followed by India. The US has reported over 32.6 million Covid-19 cases and more than 580,000 related deaths so far, according to Johns Hopkins University. Harris said that India sent assistance to the US at the beginning of the pandemic, "and today, we are determined to help India in its hour of need."