Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has said the US had a “moral responsibility” to help India in its fight to defeat the raging pandemic in the country. New coronavirus cases and deaths in India hit a record daily high on Thursday after 4,12,262 new infections and 3,980 fatalities were reported, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,10,77,410 and the death toll to 2,30,168.
“The situation in India is dire. Hundreds of thousands of new COVID cases are confirmed every day, there are no hospital beds open or oxygen supply left, and people are tragically dying before they can even get to a doctor,” Jayapal, the first and only Indian-American in the US House of Representatives, said.
“India needs our help — and it is our moral responsibility to rise to the challenge at the local, Federal, and international level because to defeat a global pandemic, we need a global response,” said Jayapal, who was recently in India to meet her parents who were hospitalised due to COVID-19 infections.
Chairwoman of the powerful Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives, Jayapal on Thursday also had a virtual meeting with Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
After holding an Indian-American community roundtable with advocates, local leaders, and residents about worsening health conditions in India, Jayapal said that she has repeatedly called on the Biden administration to approve India’s request for raw vaccine materials, release some of America’s stockpile of unused COVID vaccines to India, and support a resolution at the WTO to waive patent protections so that they can finally put people’s lives over pharmaceutical profits.
“The Biden administration’s willingness to quickly heed my call on each of these life-saving requests comes at a moment when wealthy countries have administered more than 80 per cent of global vaccines while low-income countries have received just 0.3 per cent,” she said.
“To redress this injustice, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is focused on partnering with Ambassadors, multilateral organisations, and the Biden Administration to achieve our shared goal of an equitable global vaccination programme that quickly gets more vaccines to countries in need around the world,” Jayapal said.
“As we work to accomplish this globally, I am proud of the critical efforts that Indian-American advocates, activists, and allies are doing locally. Groups like the India Association of Western Washington (IAWW) are bringing people throughout our region together to aid families in India,” she said.
Jayapal also condemned anti-Asian hate in the US as a spike in COVID cases abroad leads to an upsetting spike in anti-Asian discrimination and violence at home.
“As the first Indian-American woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, I will do everything in my power to ensure that we end anti-Asian hate. We each have a role to play — and I am committed to playing mine as we stand together against violence, discrimination, and white supremacy,” Jayapal said.
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