The Canadian government has underscored the “critical role” that India is playing with regard to the requirements globally for medicines needed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was conveyed by Canada’s foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne to his Indian counterpart external affairs minister S Jaishankar as India joined, for the first time, the Canada-led Ministerial Coordination Group on Covid-19 (MCGC).
A readout issued by Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, stated that Champagne “welcomed” India’s participation in the MCGC “noting the recent developments in India and emphasising the critical role India plays in addressing global Covid-19 vaccine and pharmaceutical needs.”
Indian officials said that the role the country has played during the pandemic highlights how it can be a relied on for medical supplies during crises. In May this year, India had sent consignments of hydroxychloroquine to Canada, totalling five million tablets, and both ministers were involved in those discussions at the time.
The other nations that participated in the 11th iteration of the virtual dialogue for coordination to deal with the coronavirus crisis were Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
The statement noted that the MCGC was a “valuable forum” especially with cases increasing in several countries across the globe, including in Canada, which has recorded new highs in the infection count in recent days, tallying another 2,761 cases to take the total on Wednesday night to 247,439.
The ministers at the meeting “reiterated their commitment to ensuring equitable access to successful Covid-19 vaccines”, according to the release. They also agreed that “when conditions permit more international travel, it will be important to learn from each other on how to best manage borders, international travel, testing and contact tracing.”
Among the MCGC’s objectives are focusing on the “importance of multilateral vaccine research and development and ensuring equitable vaccine access to developing countries and vulnerable health systems” as well as “the ongoing need for coordination and multilateralism in response to the economic effects of Covid-19.”
In an earlier release, Global Affairs Canada said that the MCGC was “proving to be a valuable forum to discuss, coordinate and act together on global challenges related to COVID-19 and beyond” in a “world increasingly characterised by interdependence, speed and complexity”.
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