US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday praised India for lifting export bans on critical medical supplies including pharmaceuticals used to treat COVID-19 patients, saying it was an example of working together with partner countries to tackle the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re working with our friends in Australia,, India and Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Vietnam to share information and best practices as we begin to move the global economy forward,” Pompeo told reporters at a news conference here.
“Our conversation certainly involved global supply chains, keeping them running smoothly, getting our economies back to full strength and thinking about how we restructure the supply change chains to prevent something like this from ever happening again,” he said.
The coronavirus has infected more than three million people and claimed over 211,000 lives worldwide. “One example of our work together is with India. It’s lifted export bans on critical medical supplies including pharmaceuticals used to treat some COVID-19 patients,” Pompeo said.
Over the last few weeks, he has spoken over phone – at least four times – with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Readout of the calls indicated that ensuring global supply chain figured prominently in their conversations. Pompeo said that the US government has provided more than USD 32 million in funding to support the COVID-19 response in Pacific island countries. “We’re working with the Burmese government, the United Nations, NGOs, and others to prevent the spread of COVID-19in Burma, including among vulnerable populations,” he said.
Referring to a recent report, Pompeo said that Americans have devoted nearly USD 6.5 billion in government and non-government contributions to help countries fight COVID-19. This is by far the largest country total in the world and more than 12 times that of China’s combined contributions, he said.