Indian-American appointed key member of US COVID-19 task force

WASHINGTON: Indian-American Seema Verma has been appointed as one of the key members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force constituted by US President Donald Trump to combat the deadly disease that has claimed six lives in the country and infected over 90 others.

Trump on January 30 created the coronavirus task force to lead his administration''s response to the deadly virus that emerged in China and has wrecked havoc across the globe.

The task force is led by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and is coordinated through the National Security Council.

In a tweet on Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence announced the appointment of Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and Robert Wilkie, Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs, to the task force.

"The White House Coronavirus Task Force has been working every single day to ensure the health, safety & well-being of the American people," he tweeted.

"Today, we made good progress in combatting the spread of the Coronavirus and added key members, @SeemaCMS and @SecWilkie, to the Task Force," he said.

All the six deaths in the US are from the Washington state with 43 domestic cases and 48 cases of the individuals who returned to the US, officials said on Monday.

Trump along with Pence reviewed the situation at the White House on Monday with top health officials and those leaders from the pharma corporate sector who are working on either vaccine or therapeutics for the COVID-19.

Responding to her appointment, Verma said that in efforts to address the potential spread of the coronavirus, it is the time for healthcare facilities to redouble their erfforts on keeping patients safe from infections of any kind.

"Thank you @POTUS Trump, @VP Pence, & @SecAzar for the opportunity to serve America''s patients & represent the @CMSGov perspective, which focuses on enforcing essential health and safety standards in America''s healthcare facilities and protecting patients," she tweeted on Monday.

"As a reminder, facilities are required to comply w/ Medicare''s infection control practices. For #COVID19, we encourage you to take necessary precautions, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," she said.

"We at @CMSGov know that #healthcare providers & staff have their patients’ best interests at heart, & it''s incredibly important that they continue following the safety guidelines laid out by CMS & the @CDCGov," she said.

According to the World Health Organisation, there are 89,527 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,056 deaths reported globally in 67 countries.

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