• Monday, June 27, 2022


Modi government’s efforts ‘very impressive’, says WHO official

“I think the commitment of the Indian government from the top level—the Prime Minister’s Office—has been enormous,” said WHO representative to India, Henk Bekedam.

By: Eastern Eye Staff

THE World Health Organisation has lauded the Narendra Modi-led Indian government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to the media after a meeting with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday (17), Henk Bekedam, the WHO representative to India, said: “I think the commitment of the Indian government from the top level—the Prime Minister’s Office—has been enormous, very impressive.

“This is one of the reasons why India is doing very well. I am very impressed that everyone has been mobilized.”

He noted that India had, so far, “managed to keep cases low by responding fast and aggressively” to the outbreak, taking it “very seriously” right “from the onset”.

Bekedam also praised ICMR’s National Institute of Virology in Pune for isolating a new coronavirus strain, a major step towards expediting the process of the development of drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.

He said: “We have very good research capacity in India and especially at the ICMR and the Department of Health Research. They have been able to isolate the virus, (and) now India will continue to be part of the research community.”

The comments came as Modi called for “harnessing innovation for a healthier planet”, urging innovators to share “technology-driven solutions for COVID-19”.

The ICMR director general, meanwhile, said India was in stage 2 (local transmission) of the outbreak.

“Third stage is community transmission… It would depend on how strongly we close our international borders, in terms of which the government has taken very proactive steps. But, we can’t say that community transmission won’t happen,” said Balram Bhargava.

On preparedness for the huge volumes of testing expected, he said: “We have already placed orders for 1 million probes, reagents and primers are unlimited. We have also requested WHO to provide us one million probes.

“We are also operationlising two high-throughput systems, which are the rapid testing laboratories. They they can test up to 1,400 samples a day.”

India has, so far, registered 137 confirmed coronavirus cases (including 24 foreigners), and three deaths. Globally, more than 1.7 lakh people were infected, killing over 7,000 people.


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