Apart from the US, India has received requests from several other countries including its immediate neighbours Sri Lanka and Nepal for supply of hydroxychloroquine. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
India partially lifted the export ban on crucial drugs to combat the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday. The announcement came after US President Donald Trump issued a veiled threat to India over the anti-malarial drug during a regular White House briefing in Washington. In a statement released on Tuesday morning, the Ministry of External Affairs said, ' In view of the humanitarian aspects of COVID-19 pandemic, it has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities.' Without naming the US, the Ministry of External Affairs said that 'We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. We would, therefore, discourage any speculation in this regard or any attempts to politicise the matter.' Last month in the first week of March, India had restricted the export of dozens of drugs including paracetamol and various antibiotics. One of the world’s largest producers and exporters of drugs, India had restricted the exports of drugs include paracetamol, antibiotics such as tinidazole and erythromycin, the hormone progesterone, which is used in the contraceptive pill, and vitamins B12, B1 and B6. (Coronavirus Live Updates)
India's decision came after Trump's stern remarks on drug export. Last week Trump said that he has sought help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the sale of Hydroxychloroquine tablets ordered by the US to treat the growing number of coronavirus patients in his country, hours after India banned the export of the anti-malarial drug. "I would be surprised if he would, you know, because India does very well with the United States," Trump told reporters during a press briefing at the White House on Monday. "I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said we'd appreciate your allowing our supply to come out. If he doesn't allow it to come out, that would be okay, but of course there may be retaliation. Why wouldn't there be," Trump had said.
Meanwhile, the death count due to novel coronavirus rose to 114 and the number of cases in the country climbed to 4,421 on Tuesday, according to the Union Health Ministry. While the number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 3,981, as many as 325 people were cured and discharged, and one had migrated, it stated. The total number of cases include 66 foreign nationals. According to the ministry's data updated at 9 am, three new deaths were reported from Rajasthan, while Tripura recorded its first coronavirus case. Maharashtra has reported the most coronavirus deaths at 45, followed by Gujarat at 12, Madhya Pradesh nine, Telangana and Delhi seven each, Punjab six and Tamil Nadu five fatalities. Karnataka registered four deaths, while West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have recorded three fatalities each. Two deaths each have been reported from Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana have reported one fatality each, according to the health ministry data.
(With PTI Inputs)