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The Modi government had imposed a ban on export of Hydroxychloroquine drug since the coronavirus outbreak hit India. The Centre, sources said, will not ban but restrict the export of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol depending on the availability of stock after meeting domestic requirements…reports Aarti Tikoo Singh

US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence

The government has decided to lift a partial ban on hydroxychloroquine after US President Donald Trump requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to export the drug to aid America’s fight against the deadly Covid-19 disease.

Official sources said that the government will clear the existing orders immediately on humanitarian grounds. The Centre, sources said, will not ban but restrict the export of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol depending on the availability of stock after meeting domestic requirements.

The Ministry of External Affairs and pharma industry will decide on such allocations depending on the humanitarian crisis, sources said.

US President Donald Trump during a press conference at the White House.

President Trump had called Prime Minister Modi, requesting him to supply the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that is being used to treat Covid-19 patients and as prophylactic by the frontline health care workers deployed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The Modi government had imposed a ban on export of the drug since the coronavirus outbreak hit India.

The US as of now has the highest number of the novel coronavirus cases in the world, with over 367,000 cases of infections and over 10,800 deaths. Relatively, India has managed to contain the pandemic with 136 deaths and over 4,700 cases of infections.

On Monday, the Donald Trump administration provided $2.9 million in aid to India to help fight against the novel coronavirus disease.

Trump warns retaliation (…reports Arul Louis)

While India has lifted its ban on exports of hydroxychloroquine to the US, President Donald Trump has said that he would be surprised if Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not allow it.

“I would be surprised if he does (ban its export to the US), because, you know, India does very well with the US,” he said on Monday at the COVID-19 Task Force briefing at the White House.

Trump had called Modi on April 4 and asked him to allow the export of hydroxychloroquine to the US to use it against the coronavirus epidemic.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses to the nation on novel coronavirus comes, in New Delhi on March 19, 2020. (Photo: IANS/BJP) by .
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses to the nation on novel coronavirus, in New Delhi. (Photo: IANS/BJP)

Modi tweeted after the call that they “agreed to deploy the full strength of the India-US partnership to fight COVID-19”.

Trump is promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment and preventive for COVID-19.

While the decision to allow the exports to resume had already been taken by India, a reporter asked Trump if he was worried about retaliation for his “decision to ban export of medical goods like Indian Prime Minister Modi’s decision to not export hydroxychloroquine to the US and other countries”.

Trump sounded surprised by the claim and said: “I don’t like that decision, if that’s (been taken); I didn’t hear that was his decision.”

“So I would be surprised if that was his decision. He’d have to tell me that.

“I know that he stopped it for other countries. I spoke to him yesterday. We had a very good talk and will see whether or not that’s his (decision). I would be surprised if he does, because you know India does very well with the US.”

In the midst of his preoccupations with the pandemic, Trump had apparently lost track of the day of his call to Modi.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives US President Donald Trump at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Feb 25, 2020. (Photo: IANS/MEA) by .
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives US President Donald Trump at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Feb 25, 2020. (Photo: IANS/MEA)

On April 3, Trump had invoked the Defence Production Act to ban the export of N95 respirators, surgical masks, gloves and other personal protecting equipment that are in short supply in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected 366,614 people in the country as of Monday night and claimed 10,783 lives.

But India had imposed the ban on hydroxychloroquine on March 25, long before the US ban.

Trump said: “I spoke to him Sunday morning and I said, ‘We’d appreciate your allowing our supply (of hydroxychloroquine) to come’. If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be OK. But, of course, there may be retaliation, why wouldn’t the be?”

Also Read – Boris Johnson Taken to ICU

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