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US provides $5.9 million in aid to India to fight COVID-19

In an effort to help the Indian government prepare laboratory systems, activate case finding and event-based surveillance, and support technical experts for response and preparedness, the US announced that it would provide nearly $5.9 million to the country. This funding is part of the $174 million international aid package that the US announced earlier in March, 2020.

“This builds on a foundation of nearly $2.8 billion in total assistance, which includes more than $1.4 billion in health assistance, the United States has provided to India over the last 20 years,” it said in a update of the U.S. efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (file)

COVID-19 caseload in India has crossed the 13,000 mark as of Thursday. Associated deaths have risen to over 400. In response to this alarming rise of COVID-19 in the country, PM Modi has recently declared that the lockdown will be extended till May 3. During this time, all affected areas in the country will be evaluated and a graded relaxation protocol will be devised.

During this time, testing has been identified as a key strategy to ensure accurate data are obtained and appropriate quarantine measures are implemented. In this regard, the foreign aid amount of $5.9 million is potentially crucial.

Other countries in South Asia that will benefit from this international aid allocation include: Afghanistan ($18 million), Bangladesh ($9.6 million), Bhutan ($500,000), Nepal ($1.8 million), Pakistan ($9.4 million) and Sri Lanka ($1.3 million).