India Offers Support to Africa to Deal with New Covid Variant Omicron

As Africa grapples with new coronavirus variant Omicron, India on Monday said it stands ready to support the affected countries in the continent including by supplying vaccines, life-saving drugs and test kits. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said supplies of vaccines can be undertaken through COVAX or bilaterally.

It said that 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.

The MEA said any new requirement projected either bilaterally or through COVAX will be considered expeditiously. “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 MEA 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,” it said, adding supplies can be undertaken through COVAX or bilaterally. “In this regard, 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,” the MEA said. “We have also cleared supplies of COVAXIN to Botswana. Any new requirement projected either bilaterally or through COVAX will be considered expeditiously,” it said.

The MEA said India also stands ready to supply essential life-saving drugs, test kits, gloves, PPE kits and medical equipment such as ventilators. “Indian institutions would favourably consider cooperation in genomic surveillance and virus characterization related research work with their African counterparts,” it said.

India has, so far, supplied more than 25 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to 41 countries in Africa, including nearly 1 million doses as grant to 16 countries and more than 16 million doses under the COVAX facility to 33 countries.

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