Washington: The White House on Friday (local time) assured that the United States would be working closely with Indian officials on identifying ways for Washington to provide assistance as India reports its highest daily COVID-19 cases on Friday.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki in response to a question whether the US had plans of sending its stockpile of the AstraZeneca vaccine to India said that Washington and New Delhi are currently between ongoing discussions.
“The United States expresses our deepest condolences to the people of India who are suffering during this global pandemic. We are working closely with Indian officials at both the political and experts level to identify ways to help address the crisis,” Psaki said during a regular briefing.
“We have made vaccine cooperation a big priority including with our quad partners. India is one of our quad partners in discussing vaccine creation and distribution for the future,” she added.
Psaki further stated that during the early stages of the pandemic the United States had provided India with emergency supplies and medical consumables. She stated that Washington also provided pandemic training for state and local health officials.
“There are ongoing discussions. We are in touch with them at a range of levels about how we can help them get through this period of time,” she said.
Psaki’s remarks come as the United States has issued a ‘Level 4 (Very High)’ warning for potential travellers to India asking them to “avoid all travel” to the country even if they are fully vaccinated.
Anthony Fauci, US infectious diseases expert on Friday called the second COVID-19 wave in India a “very terrible situation”.
“They have a situation there where there are variants. We have not yet fully characterised the variants and the relationship between the ability of the vaccines to protect. But we’re assuming, clearly, that they need vaccines,” Fauci said.
“The CDC is helping out by consulting with them… It is a dire situation that we are trying to help in any way we can,” Fauci said.
White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said that Washington is “committed to sharing vaccine supply” and “as our confidence around our supply increases, we will explore those options.”
India recorded 3,32,730 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day spike since the pandemic broke out last year. India has crossed the mark of 3 lakh COVID-19 cases for two consecutive days now. This has taken the cumulative count of the COVID infection in the country to 1,62,63,695.
According to the official data issued by the Union Health Ministry, the country has recorded 2,263 new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
As many as 1,86,920 people have succumbed to the viral infection in India so far. There are 24,28,616 active COVID-19 cases in the country now. As many as 1,36,48,159 recoveries have been reported so far, out of which 1,93,279 were reported in the last 24 hours.