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Modi, Biden express 'deep pride' on close cooperation between India, US to fight COVID pandemic

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden have expressed "deep pride" and appreciation about their nations' close cooperation to fight the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, as they noted that all sections of the society were mobilised in unprecedented ways to share emergency relief supplies during each country's times of need.

The coronavirus pandemic, which was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, has so far infected 42,853,604 people and claimed 687,084 lives in the US, while in India 33,624,419 people have been infected and 446,658 died due to the disease, according to Johns Hopkins university data. The US is the worst-hit in the world, followed by India.

"President Biden and Prime Minister Modi expressed deep pride and appreciation about their nations' close cooperation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, as governments, civil society, businesses, and diaspora communities mobilised in unprecedented ways to share emergency relief supplies during each country's times of need," said a joint statement issued after the bilateral meeting between the two leaders on Friday.

Having administered hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine to protect their own citizens at home and abroad, Biden and Modi reiterated their commitment to lead the global effort to end the coronavirus pandemic, it said.

President Biden welcomed India's announcement that it will resume exports of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines including to COVAX.

On Monday, India said it will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter of 2021 under the 'Vaccine Maitri' programme and to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool.

"Both the leaders also hailed the finalisation of the overarching Memorandum of Understanding on Health and Biomedical Sciences to bolster cooperation on key areas affecting global health, including pandemic preparedness and biomedical research, to reduce the risk of future pandemics," the statement said.

Prime Minister Modi welcomed Biden's initiative to convene the Global COVID-19 Summit on Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better to Prepare for the Next, given the two countries shared commitment to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, it said.

As per the Johns Hopkins university data, the deadly virus has so far infected 231,154,501 people and killed 4,737,927 globally.

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PTI