Trump sends $2.9 million aid, awaits hydroxychloroquine supply from India

New Delhi (IANS) The Donald Trump administration has provided $2.9 million to aid India's fight against the coronavirus disease.

In an official statement issued by US Embassy in New Delhi on Monday, the US government said that the pandemic financial support was granted to India through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The relief is in addition to $1.4 billion in health assistance, and nearly $3 billion in total assistance, that the US has provided to India over the last 20 years, the embassy said.

The statement comes a day after President Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to supply the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that is being used to treat Covid-19 patients and as prophylactic by health care workers. The government has imposed a ban on export of the drug since the coronavirus outbreak hit India.

The US as of now has the highest number of the novel coronavirus infection cases in the world. On Monday, with over 337,000 cases of infections, the US was nearing 10,000 deaths. Relatively, India has managed to contain the pandemic with 118 deaths and over 4,300 cases of infections.

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The Modi government is expected to take a call on the request after assessing India's domestic requirement of the drug.

The Covid-19 aid to India will support two organizations, the official statement said. $2.4 million will be used for USAID's health strengthening project, implemented by Jhpiego, an international non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, and $500,000 for the World Health Organization (WHO). The funds will help the Indian government to slow the spread of Covid-19, provide care for the affected, and support local communities with the tools needed to contain the disease, the US said.

Praising India's efforts, US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster said, "The US government, through USAID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other US Department of Health and Human Services agencies, is working closely with the Government of India and multilateral agencies to support India's response to this global pandemic."

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