No travel ban; instead India offers vaccines, life-saving drugs to Africa

Even as most countries began slapping travel bans on African countries, India has offered support for Africa to combat the newly-emerged Omicron variant of the Covid-19 pandemic, including through supply of vaccines, life-saving drugs, PPE kits, gloves and ventilators

Nov 30, 2021
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Even as most countries began slapping travel bans on African countries, India has offered support for Africa to combat the newly-emerged Omicron variant of the Covid-19 pandemic, including through supply of vaccines, life-saving drugs, PPE kits, gloves and ventilators.  India said it has so far supplied more than 25 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to 41 countries in Africa  - out of Africa's 54 countries - including nearly 1 million doses as grant to 16 countries and more than 16 million doses under the COVAX facility to 33 countries.

India has not put into force any travel ban on travellers from southern Africa, but has established a protocol of testing and quarantine for those coming from "at risk" countries, including Africa and Europe. 

"We have noted the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19, Omicron. We express our solidarity with the countries, particularly in Africa, who have so far been affected by the Omicron variant," a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

India said it stands ready to support the countries affected in Africa in dealing with the Omicron variant, including by supplies of Made-in-India vaccines.
It said supplies can be undertaken through the COVAX facility or bilaterally.

"In this regard, the Government has cleared all orders placed so far by COVAX for supplies of Covishield vaccines including to African countries like Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea and Lesotho.

"We have also cleared supplies of Covaxin to Botswana (one of the countries affected by the new strain).

"Any new requirement projected either bilaterally or through COVAX will be considered expeditiously," it said.

India also stands ready to supply essential life-saving drugs, test kits, gloves, PPE kits and medical equipment such as ventilators, as may be required.

"Indian institutions would favourably consider cooperation in genomic surveillance and virus characterization related research work with their African counterparts," the statement said.

It added that India has, so far, supplied more than 25 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to 41 countries in Africa  - out of Africa's 54 countries - including nearly 1 million doses as grant to 16 countries and more than 16 million doses under the COVAX facility to 33 countries (SAM)

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