PM Modi and Bill Gates discuss coronavirus situation and vaccine
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an extensive discussion with philanthropist Bill Gates on the coronavirus crisis, the global response to the pandemic, India's efforts, and a vaccine. According to a statement from PMO, the BJP leader outlined the "conscious approach that India has adopted in its fight against COVID-19". They agreed global coordination in scientific innovation is needed to tackle the pandemic.
India must be included in global coronavirus efforts: PM Modi
During the video-conference, the co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PM Modi noted that New Delhi should be made a part of worldwide discussions on the pandemic, considering India's willingness and capacity to contribute to global efforts. "He sought suggestions from Mr. Gates on how India's capacities and capabilities could be better leveraged for the general benefit of the world," PMO said.
PM told Gates previous schemes helped India during distressing times
PM Modi is learned to have highlighted the previous schemes that came handy during the time of crisis. The initiatives include expanding "financial inclusion, strengthening last-mile delivery of health services, and popularizing cleanliness and hygiene through the Swachh Bharat Mission". Gates's attention was also drawn to India's Ayurvedic wisdom to boost immunity. PM Modi underlined that India accepted new practices like social distancing.
India's response to the crisis was mentioned
"He explained how this people-centric bottom-up approach has helped win acceptability for physical distancing, respect for front-line workers, wearing of masks, maintaining proper hygiene, and respecting lockdown provisions," the statement added.
India could help in scaling-up production of vaccine
Both of them also touched upon India's way of last-mile health service delivery in rural areas and the Aarogya Setu app, which was rolled-out to alert people about a nearby COVID-19 positive patient. India's massive pharmaceutical capacity could be leveraged to scale-up production of the vaccine, as and when it is developed, suggested PM Modi. The Indian leader sought several suggestions from Gates.
Had an extensive interaction with Bill Gates: PM Modi
"Gates Foundation could take lead in analyzing lifestyle changes"
Towards the end, PM Modi said that the Gates Foundation could "take the lead in analyzing the necessary changes in lifestyles, economic organization, social behavior, modes of disseminating education and health-care, that would emerge in the post-COVID world". He said India would happily contribute to such an exercise. In April, Gates wrote a letter to PM Modi appreciating his leadership in these trying times.
Earlier, Gates appreciated the proactive measures taken by PM Modi
"We commend the proactive measures you and your government have taken to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate in India. Grateful to see that you are seeking to balance public health imperatives with the need to ensure adequate social protection for all Indians," the letter read.