COVID-19: Modi assures full support to South Africa

Evoking age-old ties and friendship with South Africa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his full support to President Cyril Ramaphosa in the COVID-19 fight and said India is ready to supply medicine and other essential items to the African nation to deal with the crisis.

During their phone conversation, Mr Modi also commended the proactive role being played by President Ramaphosa in his current capacity as the Chair of the African Union in coordinating a continent-wide response to the pandemic. Mr Modi assured India’s full support to the joint African effort, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

The two leaders also exchanged views about the challenges posed by COVID-19, and steps being taken by their respective governments to minimize the health and economic impacts from the pandemic.
Mr Modi has reached out to the world leaders for joint response against the deadly virus. He had taken the lead in forming a joint platform for the SAARC countries for sharing of information as well as funds to fight the pandemic. India had contributed $10 million as seed money to the SAARC COVID-19 Fund created last month.

Besides regional cooperation, Mr Modi also called on the G20 members to form a joint front to curb the spread of the virus, for which, the member countries lauded the Indian leader and affirmed their support.
India had extended a national lockdown last week till May 3 to slow the spread of the virus as the cases continued to increase. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, some 13,000 people were infected with the disease, of which, 452 have died as on April 18.

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research is also considering plasma therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 at some select hospitals for critically ill patients on a trial basis. The therapy was used in some patients in Wuhan, China, although there is no conclusive evidence yet on its effectiveness. Some media reports, however, claimed the patients recovered after the treatment. The US health authorities have also reportedly recommended the therapy at some hospitals for the critically ill.

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