Amid a raging global coronavirus pandemic, European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and lauded him for taking quick steps to counter this deadly disease in India. “The prime minister expressed his condolences on the loss of life in the European Union due to Covid-19 and emphasized the need for coordination and cooperation among all the countries to fight the pandemic. He also dwelt on the steps taken by India for containing the spread of coronavirus infection,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
Ms Von Der Leyen lauded India’s quick anti-Covid-19 measures, saying that it is key to preventing a rapid spread of the disease. She also expressed her appreciation for the assistance provided to the European citizens in India during the outbreak. Ms Von Der Leyen emphasized the importance of maintaining a steady supply of essential items, including medicines, and coordinated efforts for vaccine development. The two leaders discussed possible cooperation and the upcoming G-20 video-conference to discuss the Covid-19 situation, the statement said.
So far, India has reported 469 cases of Covid-19 infection and 10 deaths, spanning more than 100 districts in 23 states. Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Haryana are the worst affected. According to the World Health Organization’s latest updates, there are 375,498 confirmed cases and 16,362 deaths globally.
With the rapid increase in the number of cases, India has announced a three-week nationwide shutdown from March 25 in addition to the preventive steps previously announced that include a travel ban and social distancing. Announcing the latest measure, PM Modi appealed to the people to stay indoors and follow the guidelines to prevent further escalation of the situation.
“If we fail to manage the upcoming 21 days (of lockdown), we will be pushed back 21 years. India is at a stage where our actions today will decide to what extent we can bring down the impact of this disaster. It is the time to strengthen our resolve again and again,” he said. He also announced a Rs 15,000-crore package to boost the facilities to combat the diseases.
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