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India offers support to Africa to fight Omicron variant of COVID-19, says ready to supply vaccines, life-saving drugs

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New Delhi | November 29, 2021 10:49:20 PM IST
Expressing solidarity with the countries, particularly in Africa, which are affected by the Omicron variant of coronavirus, India on Monday said it stands ready to supply Made-in India vaccines, essential life-saving drugs, test kits, gloves, PPE kits and medical equipment such as ventilators.

"We have noted the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19, Omicron. We express our solidarity with the countries, particularly in Africa, who have so far been affected by the Omicron variant," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

"The Government of India stands ready to support the countries affected in Africa in dealing with the Omicron variant, including by supplies of Made-in-India vaccines. Supplies can be undertaken through COVAX or bilaterally," it added.

The government has cleared all orders placed so far by COVAX for supplies of Covishield vaccines including to African countries like Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea and Lesotho.

"We have also cleared supplies of COVAXIN to Botswana. Any new requirement projected either bilaterally or through COVAX will be considered expeditiously. India also stands ready to supply essential life-saving drugs, test kits, gloves, PPE kits and medical equipment such as ventilators, as may be required," the statement said.

It said Indian institutions would favourably consider cooperation in genomic surveillance and virus characterization related research work with their African counterparts.

India has, so far, supplied more than 25 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to 41 countries in Africa, including nearly one million doses as grant to 16 countries and more than 16 million doses under the COVAX facility to 33 countries.

The WHO has categorised the new COVID-19 variant, first detected in South Africa, as "variant of concern".

The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. (ANI)

 
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