Iran ‘ready to offer’ technical assistance to India for fight COVID-19 surge


Tehran: Iran Health Minister Saeed Namaki has written to his Indian counterpart Dr Harsh Vardhan, expressing readiness to support India as it battles a second wave of COVID-19.

Namaki in his letter wrote that Tehran is ready to offer “technical assistance, expertise and equipment in these difficult days and at the height of the plight of the dear citizens of India”.

“Managing this pandemic is possible only with solidarity, cooperation and assistance of all countries in the shadow of equity, elimination of discrimination and sanctions, as well as the fair access to all effective facilities in prevention, diagnosis and treatment for each needy people of the world and political, expertise and economic support of international organisations and non-governmental organisations,” the letter from the Iranian Minister read.

Highlighting that Iran has “gone through difficult times due to the unlawful unilateral sanctions and its implications on medicine, vaccines and medical equipment supplies, he said: “We are facing the fourth wave of the disease caused by the English variant.”

He further said that the exchange of experiences with scientific, research and production centres can create a brighter future for the two countries with a long history of scientific, cultural and production exchanges.

“The government and people of Iran are ready to spare no technical assistance, expertise and equipment in these difficult days and at the height of the plight of the dear citizens of India with the COVID-19 epidemic,” he wrote.

Earlier in the day, expressing solidarity with the people of India amid the record surge in COVID-19 cases, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that they are preparing a “mission to support” to aid India’s fight against the pandemic.

India recorded 3,49,691 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike since the pandemic broke out last year. According to the Union Health Ministry, the country has recorded 2,767 new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

Merkel’s show of support comes days after her criticism of the slowdown of vaccine exports from India against the backdrop of a record spike in coronavirus infections in the country.

Earlier today, the European Union (EU) has said it will do its utmost to support India, amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country which has led to shortage of hospital beds and medical-grade oxygen in some parts of the country.

“The EU together with its Member States will do its utmost to support India in this difficult moment,” said Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India and Bhutan.

Janez Lenarcic, the European Emergency Response Coordinator today informed that the EU has activated its Civil Protection Mechanism to help India with the COVID-19 crisis.

As India announced a grim record — the highest daily coronavirus infection tallies in a single country, several US lawmakers have voiced their concerns and have heaped pressure on the Biden administration to extend assistance, release vaccines and other raw materials critical for India.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday had said that the US is working closely with its partners in the Indian government to deploy more supplies and additional support amid the spike in COVID-19 infections in the country.

Several other countries including Iran, Russia, Australia, Bhutan, and the EU have extended support to India. (ANI)