India first to urge consolidated global action to fight Covid-19: Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said India was the first country to urge consolidated global action to fight Covid-19 and convened a meeting of SAARC leaders to build a robust response against the outbreak of the virus.
Participating in the 32nd Commonwealth health ministers’ meeting through video conferencing, he said: “We convened a meeting of SAARC leaders in our region in mid-March in which the need for coming together, not growing apart; collaboration, not confusion; and preparation, not panic, was underlined. These are the elements that signify India’s response to this crisis.”
He added that it is important to facilitate universal and affordable access to all relevant medical products and technologies, both existing and new. These should be made available in a fair and equitable manner to tackle Covid-19, he said.
Harsh Vardhan said India has provided essential medicines such as hydroxychloroquine to almost 100 needy countries, extending solidarity and support during this time of crisis. “It is important to work on the causes of the pandemic and discover drugs and vaccine to control transmission and prevent recurrence,” he added.
He insisted countries should mutually support and share best practices and also explore innovative ways to address new threats and challenges in the post-Covid era. It is critical to build and strengthen core capacities of developing countries particularly the least developed countries for future preparedness, response and resilience, he said.
Harsh Vardhan said that India took all necessary and timely steps including surveillance at points of entry, evacuation of its nationals abroad, surveillance in community through disease surveillance network, health infrastructure strengthening, training and capacity building of health staff, risk communication and community involvement as part of its management efforts.
“In implementing the world’s largest lockdown to prevent the spread of this pandemic, we are aiming to protect lives by mitigating the explosive growth of the disease and by ensuring that our healthcare system is able to cope up with the growth of the disease,” he added.

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