By Tajinder Bains
Washington, Apr 21 (MNN) The US has said that it was tracking the course of coronavirus outbreak in India very closely and was committed to doing whatever to see to it that the virus was brought under control.
The response came during a press briefing addressed by Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price on Tuesday afternoon (EDT).
He was responding to a question if the US was considering any kind of restrictions on travel from India to the US.
As for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory to ask all Americans not to travel to India, PRICE maintained that there were protocols in place that required testing for international travel.
“What is true is that we are tracking the course of COVID outbreak in India very closely. Secretary of State Antony J Blinken and India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar did discuss it yesterday. It is also the case that whether it’s India, whether it is any other country, we are committed to doing what we can both at the present and going forward to see to it that this virus is brought under control.”
On Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla urging the US, and President Biden in particular, to lift ban on export of certain raw materials used in the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines in India and the impact the delay in the matter could have, Price pointed out that he believed that the White House Press Secretary had spoken on this issue as recently as Monday (EDT).
“What I would say more broadly is that President Biden and Secretary Blinken are deeply focused on expansion of global vaccination, manufacture and delivery – all of which would be critical to ending the pandemic. Blinken has consistently made the point that as long as the virus is out of control, is uncontained anywhere around the world, whether in the US or elsewhere, it continues to present a risk to the American people.
“So, of course, first and foremost, our priority is ensuring the distribution of a safe and effective vaccine to millions of Americans, to all Americans who are able to take advantage of it. But we also know that we need to continue to demonstrate that leadership when it comes to countries beyond our borders, and that’s precisely what we’ve done.”
The State Department Spokesman said that the US had re-engaged the WHO and committed 2 billion dollars to COVAX, another 2 billion dollars over time and spoken to our partnership with Canada and Mexico on vaccines.
He asserted that as long as the virus was uncontrolled anywhere, it was a threat to people everywhere.
Asked about Blinken’s conversation with Jaishankar on Monday, price said they did discuss COVID, but he wouldn’t want to go beyond the readout already done.