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Foreign Secretary’s remarks at briefing session on COVID-19 related issues for diplomatic missions and international organisations

Posted on: November 06, 2020 | Back | Print

Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
My colleagues in Government

1. At the outset, let me thank you for coming to this briefing on COVID-19. The objective of this briefing today is to give you an outline of the COVID-19 vaccine development programme in India, delivery system management and most importantly international cooperation in this regard.

2. We have a panel of the key members of Government who deal with this issue and will brief you in this regard. Please allow me to introduce :

  • Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog and Chairman of National Expert Group on vaccine administration of COVID19 (NEGVAC);
  • Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India;
  • Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary;
  • Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology;
  • Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary of Department of Science and Technology;
  • Dr. Shekhar Mande, Director General of CSIR and Secretary DSIR; and
  • Shri Abhishek Singh, President & CEO of E-Governance Division of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.


3. We are meeting at a time when COVID19 continues to grapple us with increasing cases around the world every day. I have returned yesterday from Europe where a second wave of the pandemic is in evidence. In India, the daily case load has reduced to below 50,000 from around a 100,000 few weeks ago. We remain vigilant though and continue to devise and re-devise strategies based on our experiences across India.

4. During the past few months only, we have added enormous production capacity in PPEs, testing kits, medicines, etc. that we are also sharing with others.

5. Due to increase in testing numbers, contact tracing, effective isolation protocol, efficient use of hospital beds, increased availability of medical equipment, testing kits and sustained public awareness campaign, India’s recovery rate is now 91.96 % (as on 3 November 2020) and case fatality rate has dropped to 1.49 %. With progressively falling positivity rate, testing has worked as an effective tool to limit the spread of infection. You will learn more on this in the presentation to follow.

6. We are on track on the development and trial of vaccines. The members of our panel will brief you in detail about the vaccines and about our preparation for the delivery system.

7. We are exploring the possibility of conducting phase III trials in a few of our partner countries. We are also looking forward to research collaboration in the field of vaccine development. Based on willingness, we may also go for joint production of vaccines in some countries. We have already conducted online training sessions for nearly 90 participants from 8 neighbouring countries to develop capacity in clinical trials and clinical practices. Based on demand, we can conduct more such training courses.

8. Several countries have been approaching us for receiving vaccine supply. I reiterate our Prime Minister’s commitment that India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis. India will also help interested countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of vaccines.

9. To give a flavour of India’s robust and resilient progress in vaccine development and in the trial process, we have planned to take a delegation of resident Ambassadors for a tour of our vaccine and diagnostic facilities in Pune. Detailed programme and the logistical arrangements of the same will be shared with you shortly.

10. I would now request our distinguished high level panel members to brief you on specific issues related to COVID19. I may invite Dr. V.K. Paul to begin the session.

Thank you.

New Delhi
November 06, 2020


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