UN chief Guterres salutes countries like India for helping others in fight against coronavirus

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres salutes countries helping others in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, his spokesman has said, days after India sent supplies of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to several nations, including the US.

Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the coronavirus and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York.

The demand for the drug has swelled rapidly in the last few days after India decided to lift a ban on its export.

The Secretary General calls for global solidarity in this struggle against the virus, and that means that every country who is in a position to help another country should. And we salute those countries that are doing so,’ UN chief Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing on Friday.

He was responding to a question on Guterres’ reaction to India’s efforts to send medicine and other supplies to other countries amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

New Delhi lifted a ban on the export of the anti-malaria drug, seen as a possible cure for COVID-19.

India is in the process of supplying hydroxychloroquine to 55 coronavirus-hit countries as grants as well as on commercial basis.

A number of countries including the US, Mauritius and Seychelles have already received the drug in the past few days while several others will get it by the weekend.

In the neighbourhood, India is sending the drug to Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh Nepal, the Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, sources said.

India is also supplying hydroxychloroquine to Zambia, Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Congo, Egypt, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Equador, Jamaica, Syria, Ukraine, Chad, Zimbabwe, France, Jordan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman and Peru.

In a recent telephonic conversation, US President Donald Trump requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the sale of hydroxychloroquine tablets ordered by the US to treat the growing number of coronavirus patients in his country.

Trump had praised Modi for his strong leadership and said that India’s help during this crisis will not be forgotten.

Special Envoy from Dominican Republic to UN Ambassador Jose Singer and President of Security Council for April expressed gratitude to India for the donation of 200,000 hydroxychloroquine tablets to his country.

‘Dear Ambassador! My country the Dominican Republic is so grateful for this help in challenging times!!!’ Singer said in response to a tweet by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin on India’s donating the medicines to the Caribbean nation.

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