Union Health minister Vardhan interacts with US counterpart

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday interacted with US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra and addressed global challenges faced by both the countries due to COVID-19 pandemic.

During the virtual interaction, Vardhan congratulated Becerra on assuming charge as the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and thanked his gesture to initiate communication to establish formal contact to work closely on bilateral cooperation and address global challenges amid COVID-19 outbreak, the health ministry said.

In agreement with Becerra’s propositions, the health minister said, “Both nations have developed a strong collaboration in the area of public health which extends to build and enhance the co-operation and support in the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is highly appreciable to learn that the statements of solidarity between us are quickly manifesting as practical forms of support to enhance healthcare support and fight the pandemic. We are thankful and highly appreciate the support of the United States of America for medical supply,” Vardhan was quoted as saying in the statement.

Detailing India’s pro-active, pre-emptive, graded approach to COVID-19 under the National Task Force, the minister briefed his counterpart on India’s response to the disease.

“We have been augmenting testing infrastructure consistently with approximately 2,500 testing facilities for COVID-19 virus now as compared to just a single laboratory in January, 2020.

“We have also witnessed an increase of 151 times in isolation beds and 35 times in ICU beds. Oxygen plants are being established at identified hospitals across India to ensure steady supply of medical oxygen. Further oxygen production has been ramped up to meet the demand. A unique digital platform, CoWIN 2.0, has been designed that supports the vaccination drive in India,” he said.

Secretary Becerra recounted the crisis in his country brought about by COVID-19 and expressed his empathy towards the suffering of Indians. He also assured of US President Joe Biden’s unwavering commitment to engage, collaborate and fight COVID-19 together, the statement added.

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